Two panel Photo: Left Photo - a person in a wheelchair disembarks from a bus with a bus worker next to them. Right Photo - a busy street with a car and cyclist stopped at a crosswalk, while pedestrians cross

The TRC engages in research that examines how the benefits, costs and burdens associated with transportation are distributed across communities and aims to identify strategies that can increase equity. 

CCRPC Bicycle Count Program Evaluation and Data Analysis

People ride bicycle on a busy street with a green traffic light. A sign read "Bike Lane Ahead"

Project Team: Gregory Rowangould, Rose O’Brien, and Eliana Fox

Project Sponsor: Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission

This project will: 1) determine the progress that has been made on the CCRPC’s Active Transportation Plan since its adoption in 2017 and update the priority recommendation; and 2) develop a comprehensive bicycle count program for the CCRPC by reviewing and identifying gaps in existing data and reviewing best practices in bicycle data collection.

Covid-19 pandemic impacts on essential transit riders: Findings from a U.S. Survey

 a person wearing a mask looks out the window while sitting inside a public bus

Principal Investigator: Dana Rowangould

The Covid-19 pandemic decimated public transit service across the United States and caused significant decreases in ridership. Using a national survey of U.S. transit riders, this study examines changes in transit use since the pandemic began, the reasons for transit reductions, and the effects of reduced transit use and transit service on transit riders’ ability to meet their travel needs. We find that the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing transportation burdens for those who lack other options, highlighting the need to focus transit system investments on operations and lifeline service as we recover from the pandemic.

Evaluating Equity and Effectiveness in Vermont's Electric Vehicle Purchase Incentive Programs

electric vehicles parked in front of the capitol building in Montpelier, Vermont

Principal Investigators: Parker King & Gregory Rowangould

Project Sponsor: University of Vermont

The project aims to inform the design of EV incentive programs, particularly in smaller and rural communities that have not been the focus of prior investigation and where the market penetration of EVs has been lower. The project will also contribute to a greater understanding of how incentive programs can be designed to improve program effectiveness and equity for lower income and rural households.

 

Evaluating Heterogeneity in Household Travel Response to Carbon Pricing: A Study Focusing on Small and Rural Communities

a tree-lined dirt road with mountains in the background

Principal Investigator: Gregory Rowangould

Project Sponsor: National Center for Sustainable Transportation

The aim of this research project is to collect new information about household travel behavior, how households may respond to increased transportation fuel costs, and information about real and perceived barriers to avoiding higher transportation fuel costs in diverse rural communities.

 

Evaluating the Timeline of Particulate Matter Exposure from Urban Transportation and Land-Use Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Strategies Using a Novel Modeling Framework

Exhaust fumes from a vehicle's tailpipe

Principal Investigator: Gregory Rowangould

Project Sponsor: EPA

The aim of the proposed research is creating a clearer picture of how changes in land-use patterns and transportation systems affect population exposure to particulate matter (PM) pollution from vehicle traffic. The research also aims to understand how the timing of land-use and transportation system changes, particularly those strategies intended to mitigate climate change, affect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and cumulative exposure to PM emissions. Finally the research will consider how well changes in PM emission inventories, which are widely used to assess improvements in air quality, correspond to changes in PM exposure. 

 

Evaluation of Travel Constraints and Travel Burdens in the U.S. and in Rural Zero-Car Households

a foggy rural highway

Principal Investigator: Dana Rowangould

Project Sponsor: National Center for Sustainable Transportation

Transportation systems provide the means for people to reach desired destinations. The ability to travel varies widely, with many travelers facing constraints that cause travel burdens and reduce quality of life. These burdens can be greater in rural areas where many travelers face fewer transportation options and longer distances to destinations. 

The research team will evaluate travel burdens in urban and rural populations using data from a large US survey, determining who experiences travel burdens and the factors that contribute to a greater likelihood of experiencing travel burdens in urban and rural areas. These results will be used to inform in-depth interviews with zero-car rural populations, who have a high potential for travel burden. The findings will be useful for researchers and transportation practitioners seeking to better address the challenges faced by rural populations in the US.

 

Exposure-based Extreme Heat Vulnerability Mapping to Inform Adaptation and Mitigation of Extreme Heat Exposure Risk in Small Cities and Rural Settlements

a city with mountains in the background, with an orange haze from heat

Principal Investigators: Elizabeth Doran and Gregory Rowangould

Project Sponsor: NOAA

This project will identify where people all across Vermont are exposed to excessive heat produced by transportation infrastructure, map areas of vulnerability (where there is higher heat and populations at greater risk of adverse health impacts from heat exposure), and help state and municipal agencies target solutions to the places and people that most need them. 

 

I-89 2050 Study

Highway in winter with mountains in the background

Principal Investigator: James Sullivan

Project Sponsor: VHB

This study conducts a comprehensive evaluation of the Interstate 89 corridor through Chittenden County out to a design horizon year of 2050 and develop a suite of policy, planning, and infrastructure recommendations that align with stakeholder-identified Vision, Goals, and Objectives for the corridor.

 

National Assessment of Near Roadway Vehicle Traffic Emissions Exposure Risk

stopped cars on a highway in a haze of emissions

Principal Investigator: Gregory Rowangould 

Project Sponsor: Environmental Defense Fund

Description: This research will conduct a national scale study to evaluate exposure risk to air pollution from on-road vehicle traffic in every community. The project will identify exposure risk to emissions from different types of vehicle traffic, including passenger vehicles and trucks and evaluate how exposure risk varies with the socioeconomic composition of communities.

 

The Future of Rural Transit: Combining and Electrifying School and Public Transportation

a public bus with a bicycle on the front

Project Team: Peggy O'Neill-Vivanco, Cara Robecheck, Justine Sears, and Jennifer Wallace-Brodeur

Project Sponsors: Energy Action Network & Vermont Agency of Transportation

The project team will research and design a pilot to purchase and deploy small electric buses to serve 1-2 of Vermont’s rural school systems and their surrounding communities. The project will also include a detailed study to assess the opportunities and barriers of combining services: evaluating right-sizing vehicles, optimal service routes, and fleet sizes, all while drawing from fleet electrification experiences in Vermont and other states. 

Learn more about this project >>>

Value of VTrans Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis

parked cars in front of all foliage with mountains in the background

Principal Investigators: Jonathan Dowds & Gregory Rowangould

Project Sponsor: Vermont Agency of Transportation 

The purpose of this research is to improve the Agency’s ability to assess the value of external research projects with a specific focus on developing and demonstrating a qualitative assessment strategy that can be applied to all research projects.

 

The Vermont Travel Model: Year 14 (2021-2022)

Map of the state of Vermont

Principal Investigator: James Sullivan

Project Sponsor: Vermont Agency of Transportation

The statewide travel-demand model to addresses key traffic, regional travel, and policy questions for a variety of stakeholders. The work planned for Year 14 of this project includes efforts to continue the improvement of the Model functionality, accuracy, and effectiveness, building on its base-year of 2010.

Voting Accessibility and Voter Suppression: Building Capacity to Quickly Evaluate the Effects of Changes in Voting Locations

A voting booth with a poster that says "Vote" and the American flag

Principal Investigator: Dana Rowangould

Project Sponsors: Democracy Fund & University of Maryland

This project evaluates the effects of access to voting locations on voting behavior in three regions.