VMT as a Metric for Sustainability (PDF)
VMT as a Metric for Sustainability (PDF)
Vehicle-Miles Traveled (VMT) as a Metric for Sustainability

The historic U.S. vehicle travel shows annual vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) per capita almost tripling since the 1950’s. Accompanying this increase in VMT per capita has been increased various economic, social, and environmental costs. The process described as “predict and provide” planning creates a self-reinforcing cycle of automobile-oriented planning, increasing vehicle travel and justifying more automobile-oriented planning, which creates automobile-dependent communities where it is difficult to get around without a car.

A shift from a capacity-oriented and vehicle focused approach to an accessibility-oriented and individually focused approach is changing how we define transportation problems and analyze potential solutions. It recognizes the ultimate goal of transportation is an individual’s efficient access to services and that many factors can affect such accessibility, including autos and non-auto modes, transportation network connectivity, land use development density, and land use mix.

VMT reduction policies could be justified for several reasons: to reduce vehicular traffic congestion, to improve road and parking infrastructure savings, to improve community livability, to reduce pollution emissions, and to improve social interaction and public fitness and health. This informational report includes a discussion on how and how much VMT can be reduced, measuring vehicle travel, policy and methodology choices, and vehicle travel reduction strategies. It also includes case studies from locations that achieved VMT reduction via effective planning, development, and TDM strategies in the United States and internationally.
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