University of Vermont Transportation Research Center
Comparing Travel Behavior and Opportunities to Increase Transportation Sustainability in Small Cities, Towns and Rural Communities
The vast majority of travel behavior and sustainable transportation research has focused on urban areas. A rural perspective is lacking. This paper aims to dive deeper into understanding how people travel and their perceptions and opinions about various components of travel in a majority rural state. By speaking directly with Vermonters through in-person interviews, uniquely personal points of view were discovered and analyzed to find commonalities and differences between urban, suburban, and rural Vermonters. Questions on day-to-day challenges of traveling, suggestions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, responses to fuel prices, and opinions on electric vehicles were asked. Some key findings were illuminated over the interview and analysis processes. Rural areas struggle most with traveling long distances to reach services, while urban areas are more concerned with traffic, opinions on EV ownership were consistent across the state, with people being likely to consider owning an EV if costs of ownership were to decrease. These interviews highlighted additional questions that need to be answered so that states can develop practical and effective policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in rural areas. Further in-depth surveys are recommended coming out of this study so that a more complete picture of potential behavioral shifts can be attained. A reduction in GHG emissions is paramount to the world’s survival and this research will add to the body of knowledge in a historically understudied population so that we can work more closely with small and rural communities to help combat climate change through widespread emission reduction.
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Quallen, E., Clarke, J., Nelson, C., Rowangould, G., 2022. Comparing Travel Behavior and Opportunities to Increase Transportation Sustainability in Small Cities, Towns, and Rural Communities. Transportation Research Record 03611981221124590. https://doi.org/10.1177/03611981221124590
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Sage in Transportation Research Record on October 12, 2022, available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/03611981221124590