The Burlington Climate Action Plan (BCAP) just issued apparently contains a serious overstatement of transportation growth in the three year analyzed, 2007-2010. Transportation, mostly car and truck travel, is the area which contributes about half of all global warming emissions in the City and the State. But, Vermont gasoline consumption declined 8% 2000-2010, as reported in the annual Federal Highway Administration statistics series. In fact the Vermont trend, if continued, would easily bring us to 1990 numbers by 2020 in view of stalled car travel and new vehicle fuel efficiency standards. Average motor fuel use for New England states increase was barely 0.6% average total for the 2000-2010 decade. Note the historic low New England State average car travel increase reached barely 3% last decade and Rhode Island car travel actually went negative.
Even more impressive data calls BCAP transportation data, conclusions and policies into question. In addition about 500 commuters to and from Burlington using the Chittenden County Transportation Authority (CCTA) "Link" services dailty by next June (about half on the Montpelier route with its 24 buses) traffic since 2006 on I 89 between Waterbury and Montpelier exits declined 7% 2006 to this spring. Link services started early last decade and grew to the 46 buses each workday in three corridors out of Burlington. In addition appreciate the truly miraculous work since 2000 by the Campus Area Transportation Management Association (CATMA) efforts on behalf of their three key members--UVM, Champlain College, and Fletcher Allen with their 10,000 employees--cutting solo car commuting14%, reducing student and employee car use through providing universal access to CCTA buses, and identifying student reduction of bringing cars to campuses resulting from both the CCTA access and student use of a new car sharing rental service. The City needs to have the planners revisit the basis for the BCAP study and update--the estimate of car travel growth appears unrealistic and the BCAP does not appear to take into consideration the scope of the impact of CATMA demand management for the 2007-2010 analysis period and beyond. The issue of addressing climate change is far to important to be the subject of the apparent shoddy work in the new BCAP plan. Planners and statisticians need to do better!