Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Natural Resources

First Advisor

Troy, Austin


Vehicle Miles Traveled (“VMT”) is a measure of how much driving a person or a population does in a given period for time. VMT per capita is widely viewed as the strongest correlate of environmental degradation and resource consumption in the transportation sector, a sector that accounts for approximately 1/3 of our greenhouse gas emissions and 1/3 of our overall energy use. An integrated land use- transportation model was used to simulate the impact that an urban growth boundary would have on VMT over a 40-year modeling horizon in a small metropolitan area, Chittenden County, VT. The results indicate that even in an area with low to moderate population growth, an urban growth boundary has the potential to reduce VMT per person by as much as 25% from a business-as-usual scenario over a 40-year period. The reduction would result primarily from a shift from driving to public transit or walking for many trips. One version of the urban growth boundary would also benefit from shorter average trip lengths. The obstacles and opportunities for implementation of an urban growth boundary or similar land use regulation are also considered. One pre-requisite for successful implementation of this dramatic change in land use regulation is the existence of a policy champion, who would build support for the idea that ever-increasing VMT should be a concern, and that land use regulations can stem that tide. A second pre-requisite is a new regional-level entity, preferably one endorsed and supported by the state or federal government, to develop boundaries, design restrictions, create incentives, and ensure coordination among the many local entities that would be involved and affected