The Snelling Center and AARP Vermont have completed a statewide collaborative venture to explore policy options for Transporting the Public that will improve mobility, create healthy and economically vibrant communities, and protect our natural environment.

Click here for the final report, including policy options.

Click here for the statement of principles endorsed by a growing number of organizations.

If you are interested in joining the advocacy phase of this initiative, contact Jennifer Wallace-Brodeur, JWBrodeur@aarp.org


The Opportunity
A convergence of factors—changing demographics, environmental impacts, increasing gas prices, state transportation funding shortfalls and new federal funding possibilities—make this an opportune time to transform how we think about and provide transportation to the public.

Discussion of “public transportation” in Vermont is often limited to fixed-route public buses and fails to include the wide array of existing transportation assets that could be part of an integrated system for transporting the public.

This Project
On behalf of the AARP, the Snelling Center for Government managed a three phase project in 2009 to consider how we can effectively utilize and integrate the full range of financial and physical transportation assets in Vermont to:

  • increase mobility;
  • reduce cost;
  • protect the environment;
  • reduce congestion and commute times; and,
  • foster economic development?

Phase One: Crafted a set of principles that reflects the integration of a variety of interests.

Click here for the principles developed by a small multi-stakeholder group and endorsed by a growing number of organizations.

Phase Two: Hold a statewide visioning forum

On June 3 over 85 organizations participated in a state-wide action planning forum in Montpelier. This event brought together transportation providers, health and human service providers, legislators, business leaders, community and regional planners, and advocates for smart growth.

Click here for the comprehensive data guide from the forum.

The top action ideas from the forum are as follows:

 

Broaden the basis for creative funding for public transportation, e.g. a regional transportation authority with tax authority

 

 

Create land use/ transportation links in planning and implementing housing, economic development, growth center, neighborhoods, etc.

 

 

 

Research and publicize existing subsidization of cars vs. public transportation

 

 

 

Combine transportation providers, coordinate transportation services, programs and information including a centralized dispatch.

 

 

 

Community organizations providing transportation services are able to combine multiple streams of funding to allow flexibility to the service provider and the user for multiple purposes (e.g. medical appointments, work, shopping, etc).

 

 

 

VTrans create public education and marketing program to encourage volunteer drivers and support volunteer driving to ride-sharing program.

 

 

 

Increase the gas tax with an income sensitivity and transit provider rebate.

 

 

 

Long range planning should include multi-modal alternatives – any new or expanded road development must take into account multi-modal alternatives.

 

 

 

Breaking down funding source limitations.

 

 

 

Provide interconnection between

 

Vermont regions

Comprehensive planning at state and local level, such as integrating public transportation and mobility options into Act 250. This would include a 30-year transportation, land-use, and energy infrastructure plan

Create a clear prioritization of funding that includes a cost-benefit analysis, potential elimination of programs, or strengthening certain programs over others.

 

 

Persistent and consistent education campaign, with a strong focus on youth education to begin to shift public thinking and behavior change.

 

 

 

Convene a group of Vermonters (professional and grassroots) to identify federal regulation and policies that create obstacles to transporting the public efficiently, and to propose alternatives that support it.  The aim is to organize our advocacy at the federal level, with a “Top 5” list, to include items such as being able to use school buses for public transportation, flexibility in vehicle specs so we can purchase the right-sized vehicles, and eliminating funding silos that limit flexibility.

 

 

 

Convene a group ofVermont educators to re-design the “Drivers Ed” curriculum and convert it to “Transportation Ed”. The new curriculum would include costs of operating a SOV vs. alternatives, eco-driving techniques, how to use public transportation, trip planning skills, etc.

 

Phase Three: Created policy objectives to move from vision to action

During the summer of 2009, key leaders reviewed the outcomes of the forum and identified strategic policy changes and alliances that would transform the way we organize, manage and fund the full range of assets in Vermont to transport the public. Policy suggestions were developed for three areas:

1. Integrate Land Use, Transportation, and Energy Planning

2. Increase Mobility and Multi-Modal Options

3. Integrate Transporation Options and Improve Connectivity of Public Transit System

Click here for a copy of the final report.

For More Information:

Heidi Klein
heidi@snellingcenter.org

or

Jennifer Wallace-Brodeur
JWBrodeur@aarp.org