By Bethany Fleishman
Vital Communities’ Smart Commute Home Edition program is recruiting Vermont towns interested in helping residents lower their transportation costs by driving alone less. The White River Junction, Vt.-based nonprofit was recently awarded a grant by The High Meadows Fund to implement a second round of its newest transportation program.
Smart Commute Home Edition launched last spring in partnership with Bradford, Hartford, Norwich, and Windsor, Vermont. Modeled after Vital Communities’ successful workplace-based program, Smart Commute follows a three-step process to survey town residents, develop an action plan, and help towns implement new projects to better meet commuters’ needs.
Want your town to partner with Vital Communities to promote biking, walking, transit, carpooling, telecommuting, and high-efficiency vehicles to residents? Proposals are due October 31 from Vermont towns in the Vital Communities service area to participate in the second round of Smart Commute. Interested communities can attend an information session either on Wednesday, October 8, or Tuesday, October 14, both from 7 to 8 p.m. on the second floor of the Upper Valley Food Co-op, 195 North Main Street, White River Junction, Vermont.
The Smart Commute request for proposals is available at vitalcommunities.org/smartcommute/sche_apply.cfm.
Results from Round One
Smart Commute surveys in Bradford, Hartford, Norwich, and Windsor yielded some findings common to all four towns:
- People want to organize carpools online, but many are unfamiliar with Go! Vermont, an easy-to-use ride-matching tool. There’s even an emergency ride home program if you can’t get home via your carpool due to an emergency. Check it out at connectingcommuters.org.
- People want more frequent and convenient bus service.
- People want more sidewalks and bike paths.
Although the surveys showed similarities among the four towns, each town has its own strengths and opportunities. Here’s some of what’s happening this fall in each town:
Bradford: Vanpools can help you save 60 percent on commuting costs and let you catch up on sleep, get work done, or socialize with your neighbors while you ride. Smart Commute Bradford is hosting a pizza party on Wednesday, October 15 at 7 p.m. at the Bradford Public Library to set up vanpools among people who commute at least 20 miles from the Bradford area.
Hartford: Smart Commute Hartford is looking at the feasibility of a small downtown car-share and promoting the recent schedule expansion of the Advance Transit Green Route bus.
Norwich: Smart Commute Norwich and Dartmouth College are hosting a bike-car-bus race on October 21 to test the fastest way to get from Norwich across Ledyard Bridge to the college during morning rush hour. Stay tuned for results!
Windsor: The Hartland-Windsor park-and-ride is scheduled to re-open this month, and Smart Commute Windsor will celebrate by hosting carpool meet-ups on Monday, October 20. Arrive a few minutes before 7:30 a.m., 8 a.m., or 8:30 a.m. to enjoy free coffee and pastries, meet neighbors who work with or near you, and form a new carpool! Already have a carpool? Come by and invite others to join your group.
Complete action plans for the participating towns are available at vitalcommunities.org/blog/index.php/town-transportation-plans.
If you live in Bradford, Hartford, Norwich, or Windsor and want to get involved, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (802) 291-9100 x111.
Caption for photo: A cyclist and Stagecoach bus in Norwich, Vermont.