A Milestone for Statewide VMT Reduction
To achieve our climate goals, we know Minnesota must target the biggest source of our climate pollution: transportation. That’s why, over the past several years, Move Minnesota has been working as a member of the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s (MnDOT) Sustainable Transportation Advisory Council to set specific goals to create a less car-dependent transportation system.
In December, MnDOT took a historic first step by acknowledging and addressing this critical need by including a vehicle miles traveled reduction target in the 2022-2041 Statewide Multimodal Transportation Plan (SMTP).
Updated every five years, the SMTP is the highest policy plan for transportation in Minnesota. It outlines objectives, performance measures, strategies and actions to help advance MnDOT’s vision of a multimodal transportation system that maximizes the health of people, the environment and our economy over the next 20 years. The document is a statewide policy plan for all users, all modes and any jurisdiction that has a role in Minnesota’s transportation system.
The inclusion of a VMT reduction target in the SMTP is a milestone. As of today, it is official MnDOT policy to “reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled across Minnesota per capita 14% by 2040.” This sets the state on a path to reduce VMT by 20% per capita by 2050—a target recently embedded in the Minnesota Climate Action Framework, which Move Minnesota helped develop through participation on the climate action framework advisory committee.
Our work is not done, however. Move Minnesota and allied organizations advocated for a 20% reduction in total VMT by 2050—rather than a less ambitious per-capita target—because climate analyses by national experts RMI and NRDC show that that is what is necessary to meet our climate obligations. And we know it is achievable if we provide Minnesotans with real transportation options: full and fast transit networks and comprehensive biking and walking options.
We look forward to continued work with MnDOT, the state legislature and the Governor’s office to strengthen these VMT goals and turn policy into reality.