Each day, Vermonters struggle to find ways to get to where they want or need to go if they cannot drive or do not have access to a car. At the same time, Vermonters concerned about gas prices, air quality, and global warming may be motivated to drive less, but find alternatives lacking. A new approach is needed for transporting the public that improves mobility while reducing the need for driving single occupancy vehicles; that contributes to healthy living and creates economically vibrant communities; protects our natural environment; and uses a wide variety of existing public and private transportation assets. That's why in early 2009, AARP Vermont, with assistance from the Snelling Center for Government, launched the Transporting the Public project.
This three-phase project was designed to elevate mobility issues as a political issue in Vermont. More options are needed throughout the state for people who cannot drive or would like to drive less. This includes public transportation, sidewalks, bike paths, van pools, volunteer driver programs, car sharing and more.
In early 2009, a stakeholder group representing transportation providers, environmentalists, business leaders, health and human service providers, regional planners, schools, and advocates for smart growth were invited to develop a Statement of Principles for the project. These principles are intended to serve as the basis for future policy and program decisions. Groups who are interested in supporting this project can sign-on to the principles.
Work groups of experts met over the summer to further examine the recommendations from the June 3rd forum and identify specific policy ideas that were appropriate for legislative action. This was the final phase of the project and sets the stage for future collaborative work between organizations to support an agenda to improve mobility options for all Vermonters.
To see the final project report click here.
To find out more about Vermonters attitudes and current transportation behaviors, check out The Road Ahead: AARP Survey on Transportation in Vermont . This phone survey of 800 Vermonters age 18 and older was conducted in January, 2009 and provides information on how people are currently getting around, the availability of various transportation options, what external issues are affecting attitudes about driving, and what the state's role should be to provide transportation options.
Since completion of this project in 2009, Transporting the Public partners have been working collaboratively in a number of areas. While not a formal coalition, this group actively seeks opportunities to work together and bring diverse perspectives to transportation issues and proposed policy solutions. Organizations who want to stay informed and engaged on innovative local, state, and federal policy solutions are invited to join this group by signing the Transporting the Public Statement of Principles .
New faces were seen in several committees during the 2010 legislative session demonstrating wide and diverse support for legislation that supports walking and cycling, changes to land use regulations to better connect with transportation planning, and improvements to public transit. Click here for a summary of the 2010 bills and their outcomes.
The town of Hinesburg joined CCTA with a strong vote among residents on Town Meeting Day in March, 2010. This effort led by Hinesburg Rides , with a financial commitment from local employer NRG Systems , will eventually lead to new bus service connecting Hinesburg to Burlington and Bristol.
Rural Community Transportation, Inc. has teamed up with the Area Agency on Aging for Northeastern Vermont to start the Green Express which offers free bus services in several Northeast Kingdom communities.
Way to Go Week , an annual program to encourage the use of cheaper, healthier, and more earth friendly transportation alternatives went statewide this year under the leadership of the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation. Three thousand people pledged to participate in Way to Go week saving over 9,700 gallons of fuel, $30,000 in transportation cost savings, and 200,000 pounds of transportation pollutants.
Addison Independent , Towns Should Serve People, Not Just Cars , December 23, 2010 by Noelle MacKay, Executive Director of Smart Growth Vermont
St. Albans Messenger , December 13, 2010 by Andrea Beaderstadt, GMTA Public Outreach Coordinator