Vital Communities has announced it will partner with the towns of Bradford, Hartford, Norwich, and Windsor, Vermont, to launch a new version of its successful Smart Commute program this spring: Smart Commute Home Edition. The new initiative will help towns develop programs and promotional campaigns to encourage commuters to drive alone less.
“Upper Valley commuters have collectively saved millions of dollars each year thanks to new carpooling, transit, cycling, and walking initiatives that we’ve worked with major employers to develop,” says Transportation Program Manager Aaron Brown. “We’re excited to see what additional savings can occur when we partner with towns to help their residents at the starting point of their commutes.”
In addition to receiving consultation from Vital Communities on new transportation programs, the towns selected for Smart Commute Home Edition will receive a $500 community grant from the Vermont Agency of Transportation’s Go! Vermont program. Ross MacDonald, manager of the Go Vermont program, says “Vital Communities has a strong history of successfully moving the Upper Valley toward a more sustainable transportation future. VTrans is excited to partner with them and four towns to promote smart commuting options.” Vital Communities received additional support for the project from the Canaday Family Foundation.
“During the last twenty years, Downtown White River Junction has been experiencing an economic resurgence. However, there is limited land area and parking in the downtown,” says Hartford Town Planner Matt Osborn. “As a result, transportation demand management is an important part of continued revitalization and a solution to avoid a future parking problem. This fits in with the vision of the Smart Commute Home Edition program.”
Several chosen towns also highlight how Smart Commute Home Edition can help their efforts to write new town master plans. Bradford Planning Commission Chair Justin Klarich says, “We are in the midst of updating the Town Plan, and I can whole heartedly say that a survey would most definitely be valuable information in this update. Any information could help forge recommendations and even town policy statements in our Town Plan that could in turn be used for grant proposals.”
Vital Communities’ Smart Commute Upper Valley program has provided one-on-one consulting to more than 30 workplaces since its inception in 2009. Participating employers have initiated a range of projects, from installing bike racks and electric vehicle charging stations to funding new bus services.