Future of Rural Transit
The core of this initiative is to prepare Vermont to have the most efficient, equitable, and cost-effective rural transportation system in the US by combining public, Medicaid, and school transportation into a single electrified public transportation system.
In most of the world, public transportation is one system serving schools along with the rest of the community; saving money and adding functionality to the system. Even in Vermont, children in Burlington ride the public bus to school. The idea of combining school and public transportation frequently comes up in community forums, but there are many barriers that have gotten in the way of making progress on the idea.
The Future of Rural Transit project has received grant funding to further study the concept and design a pilot for combined transit in Vermont. The first year of the project will include outreach and education efforts to identify suitable partners and routes for piloting this concept, as well as a detailed feasibility study looking at the opportunities and barriers of combining services, evaluating right-sizing vehicles and fleet sizes, and drawing from what Vermont and other states are learning about fleet electrification. Once suitable partners are designated and the feasibility study is completed, they will set up a demonstration pilot deploying electric buses (likely small “cutaway” models) to serve 1 or 2 rural school systems and surrounding communities.
Network members and partners guiding this effort:
- VEIC (Jennifer Wallace-Brodeur)
- VT Clean Cities Coalition (Peggy O’Neill-Vivanco)
- Vermont Energy Education Program – VEEP (Mariah Keagy)
- Green Mountain Transit – GMT (Chris Damiani)
- VTrans – Public Transit (Dan Currier, Ross McDonald)
- Linda McGinnis
- Plus Advisors from: AARP, Vermont Center for Independent Living, VT Superintendents Association, Green Mountain Power, Vital Communities, Community Engagement Lab, Regional Planning Commissions, School Superintendents and leadership, and others.
Feasibility Study Application Materials:
- Link to Online Feasibility Study Application
- Application Questions for feasibility study (reference pdf)
- FAQ about feasibility study
- Video of Meeting about Feasibility Study Application
If you are interested in learning more or getting involved in this project, please contact Cara Robechek firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Network Action Team projects were selected by the Network membership through a competitive process at the EAN annual summit. Although Network members may support specific policy actions as part of their work on these Action Teams, EAN staff serve in the role of neutral convener and refrain from advocating for specific policies.