What strategies are used to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and improve overall transportation system efficiency?


Answer: VMT is a measure used in the transportation planning community and elsewhere to report the number of miles that motor vehicles are driven on the road. It is a representation of how much fuel a transportation system uses, the resources necessary to build and maintain that system, and the amount of time the regions’ inhabitants are spending on the road.

While the focus of Clean Cities is vehicle technology and alternative fuel use, many coalitions also work in their communities to reduce VMT and improve overall transportation system efficiency. Increasing efficiency through transportation can help achieve local and nationwide goals for transportation (reduced congestion), energy (decreased petroleum use), and the environment (reduced emissions). Fleets can also benefit from strategies to reduce VMT through cost and time savings.

Transportation planners, vehicle fleet managers, and corporate decision makers can all play a role in transportation demand management. In greater Lansing a great resource to call for help is Clean Commute Options. Strategies for reducing VMT include:

  • Ridesharing: Encourage people to share vehicles and commute together through employee rideshare, ridematching systems, and car sharing programs.
  • Mass Transit: Develop, improve, or increase ridership on buses, bus rapid transit, trolleys, rail, and ferry systems.
  • Active Transit: Reduce vehicle use by supporting strategies that encourage biking and walking, including infrastructure development (e.g., bike lanes, sidewalks) and bike share programs.
  • Multi-Modal Transportation: Develop resources and infrastructure to enable commuters to split up their trip into multiple modes, including ridesharing, mass transit, and active transit (e.g., online trip planners, park-and ride lots).
  • Telework: Implement flexible work arrangements where employees can work from home (telecommute) or attend meetings from their computer (teleconference).
  • Route-Planning Software: Utilize tools that allow fleets, particularly delivery and pick-up services, to plan and follow the most direct route.