The transportation sector is the largest consumer of fossil fuels. Regrettably, only about 10% of Maine drivers use carpooling. The remaining 80% of individuals drive alone and only about 6% use public transportation or other modes of traveling. As a result of an increase in drivers and dependency on transportation it is important to start implementing programs that decrease the use, waste and pollution that transportation causes.
The pollution caused by transportation is a deadly combination of air toxics and contributes to the greenhouse gas effect and thus global climate change. The main reason for this is the rising number of vehicles on the road and increase in VMT (vehicle miles traveled). VMT has incredibly increased by 149% since 1970, and still continues to rise. Even though there are more environmental controls placed on new cars to decrease the emissions of greenhouse gases it is important to focus on the main source of the problem, rising VMT. The WSDOT (Washington State Department of Transportation) has created plans to decrease their states VMT with a program that looks at a commute trip reduction program. This involves planning and implementing general awareness about the issue as well as working with individuals to decrease VMT per capita. Many other communities are encouraging public transportation, especially around larger cities. This decreases VMT, greenhouse gas emissions, as well as congestion of roadways.
Individually, there are many alternatives to driving alone; these include carpooling, using the Park and Rides, public transportation, decreasing fuel dependency by using Hybrid cars, zen-cars, bicycles or walking.
Department of Ecology State of Washington: Transportation Implementation Working Group. http://www.ecy.wa.gov/climatechange/2008CATdocs/iwg/tran/050908_tran_scope.pdf. June 28, 2007.
U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/vmtems.htm. December 3, 2002.