Transportation Program Wins Grant, Opens Second Round of Smart Commute Home Edition

Vital Communities has been awarded a $50,000, two-year grant from the High Meadows Fund to expand its transportation work with towns in Vermont through its new Smart Commute Home Edition program.

Vital Communities requests proposals from Vermont communities in our service area to participate in the second round of our Smart Commute Home Edition. This is an exciting opportunity for four communities to partner with Vital Communities and promote biking, walking, transit, carpooling, telecommuting, and high-efficiency vehicles in their communities. Smart Commute can help save residents money, reduce the environmental impact of driving, and improve the health and wellness of residents. The full request for proposals may be downloaded here.

We will host an information session for interested communities Wednesday, October 8th, from 7:00-8:00 pm on the second floor of the Upper Valley Food Co-op, 195 North Main Street, White River Junction, Vermont 05001 (map).

This work is based on our traditional and older “Smart Commute” program, which has helped 36 Upper Valley workplaces decrease their drive-alone rate from 84% to 76%, saving approximately 300,000 gallons of fuel and an estimated $1.3 million in fuel costs. We transferred our model of consulting workplaces (the “end point” of a commute) to communities (the “start point” of a commute) with four pilot communities in summer 2014. Our first four communities were Bradford, Hartford, Norwich, and Windsor, Vermont. These communities are now pursuing a wide range of activities, from promoting existing bus services to examining the feasibility of a car-share program.

Commuting by Bike

Resource Systems Group’s Eric Talbot rides his bike to work approximately 4 out of 5 days a week over the year. In the winter, when the weather is too harsh, Eric walks to work or rides the Green line on Advance Transit to White River Junction. Eric lives about a mile and a half from his office. His main motivations for riding his bike to work are that cars are expensive to own and maintain and he gets great exercise, especially going up a challenging hill on the way home.
Eric finds that most drivers are polite and accommodating to him on his commute. Even on roads without much shoulder, he has not had any problems. Eric mentioned a couple of benefits to working at RSG that help him commute to work on his bike: availability of shower on site and the ability to adjust his hours when the days get short to ride to work and home in the daylight