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Four key findings

Policymakers hoping to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) must be aware of four key findings that emerge from the Growth & Justice research:

  1. We drive a lot. Minnesota drivers travel more miles than average compared to the nation as a whole and even to our neighboring states of Iowa and Wisconsin. On a per capita basis, Minnesota’s total for vehicle miles is about on par with VMT for sparsely populated South Dakota, even though Minnesota’s population density is 6.5 times greater.
     
  2. Land-use and transit strategies should be pursued together. While Minnesota can modestly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions through increased transit service alone or through changes in land use patterns alone, bigger, significant impacts come from investments, policies and choices that link transit and land-use and encourage transit-oriented development.
     
  3. Potential environmental gains from land use changes and transit will depend on increased density. Because these changes take time and investment, it’s smart to start now and focus on areas with existing concentrations of employment and housing -- areas that already boast significant development.
     
  4. Increased density may carry a price. Concentrations of employment may make congestion worse on some streets and thoroughfares connecting to those areas. Roadway pricing initiatives, such as MnPASS lanes on I-394 and I-35W, can mitigate this traffic congestion, as can transit.

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