Yellow city bus driving down city streets.

Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) Per Capita

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What does this indicator mean?

Total annual miles of vehicle travel divided by the total population in a state or urbanized area. Reducing VMT creates many benefits, including alleviating traffic congestion and reducing air pollution, emissions, and dependence on foreign oil, which have direct and indirect costs.

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How is this indicator useful for creating and measuring activity-friendly places?

  • To determine places where multiple modes of transportation can be supported.
  • To evaluate transportation impacts of new plans and proposed developments. 
  • To provide the latest travel data or estimates (e.g., average daily traffic) for a community of interest through collaboration with the state department of transportation and regional and local planning organizations.
  • To help describe and understand the transportation context in a county or metro area.
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What would help the most people benefit from this indicator?

  • Allow for higher density development near public transportation that meets a community’s unique needs.
  • Develop protected and connected bicycle networks.
  • Redesign roadways to slow traffic and provide more space for walking and cycling (e.g., vehicle lane narrowings and speed reduction designs (often called traffic calming measures)).
  • Ensure that parking fees cover its direct costs (land and infrastructure) and indirect costs (the increased incentive to drive and associated environmental and congestion impacts; lost uses of land dedicated to parking lots and structures).
  • Support efforts to reduce public transit fares and enhance public transportation options.
  • Specifically increase transit coverage, frequency, affordability, and infrastructure (e.g. quality of stops, dedicated lanes) to increase transit’s efficiency and reduce driving incentive.
  • Identify strategies to increase foot traffic in central business districts (e.g., pedestrian malls, parking maximums, shared parking, vehicle free streets except for local deliveries), which can increase foot traffic and retail sales and reduce driving incentives.