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Sustainable Transportation

The transportation sector accounts for 31% of greenhouse gas emissions in Saint Paul and a growing percentage of overall emissions in the United States.

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The majority of emissions come from on-road vehicles including light-duty passenger vehicles and heavy-duty vehicles. Of these vehicles types, 71.5% are passenger vehicles and 27.9% are heavy-duty vehicles, which often use diesel as the primary fuel. Additional in-boundary transportation emissions come from rail and boats, though these make a small percentage of travel emissions.

In 2017, the majority of commuters traveled in single-occupancy vehicles (68.1%). Just over 10% carpooled. Together, transit, biking, and walking made up about 15% of commuters, and 5.6% of residents worked from home. There is opportunity to continue to shift people from personal vehicles to other modes of transit. As technologies and services change, there are more options than ever for people to move around the city.

Commuting Characteristics

To reduce these emissions down to zero by 2050, we must both do less driving of powered-vehicles and accelerate the adoption of all-electric vehicles. This includes making Saint Paul a safer and more appealing place for residents and visitors to walk, ride a bicycle, and use public transportation, as well as making it easier for residents and businesses to switch to electric vehicles.

The way that our City continues to change and develop can have a dramatic impact on transportation emissions. Emissions-reducing land-use practices include the permitting of higher density and mixed-used development, so that residents and visitors can meet their delay needs while creating fewer emissions from fossil-fuel powered vehicles. 

The Climate Action and Resilience Plan focuses on reducing emissions first by making cleaner modes of transportation the easy option. Reducing the amount of vehicle miles driven is critical to achieving carbon emission reduction goals. Providing safe and easy access to walking, rolling (e.g., using scooters, skateboards, rollerblades, wheelchairs, etc.) , and biking has the added benefit of promoting better health.


Key Initiatives:

TM-1 Reduce or eliminate citywide minimum parking requirements and set parking maximums for most land-use types and require developers and landlords to “unbundle” parking from rent

TM-2 Redesign parking fees to capture the full cost of parking in downtown and other high-demand commercial districts

TM-3 Provide a stable funding source to implement the recommendations of the city’s Comprehensive Plan

TM-4 Bring together various stakeholders including the city, transit agencies, and community groups to create affordable housing in the transit market areas defined by the Metropolitan Council

TM-5 Implement pricing strategies that accurately capture the cost of driving and auto-centric infrastructure on city roads

TM-6 Identify strategies to mitigate the impacts of inner-city highways including capping, conversion to boulevards, or complete removal

TM-7 Incentivize infill development by implementing smart growth strategies described in the city’s draft Comprehensive Plan

TM-8 Increase the number of communities that are mixed-use and higher-density TM-9 Implement the “Vision Zero” program recommendation of the Comprehensive Plan to achieve zero traffic fatalities on city rights-of-way


There are many transit options for Saint Paul residents, including light rail, bus rapid transit (BRT), express buses, and local bus lines. However not all parts of the city are serviced equally with transit options – and as transit ridership increases, we must ensure that deployment of transit options is equitable.

Transit Ridership

Key Initiatives:

TR-1 Ensure shared mobility options are located within .25-mile of transit service to increase options for the first and last mile

TR-2 Work with city, state, regional and federal stakeholders to identify long-term sustainable funding strategies to complete the planned build-out of transit lines

TR-3 Create high-frequency rapid transit in all parts of the transit market areas defined by Metropolitan Council

TR-4 Increase transit coverage in concentrated areas of poverty to increase access to jobs and destinations in the downtown core; ensure mobility options remain public and accessible

TR-5 Support transit with last mile solutions including electric car-share, standard or e-bike share, and scooters that will become more broadly available at mobility charging hubs

TR-6 Streamline services to prevent redundancy and enable passengers to easily understand routes and schedules

TR-7 Strategically place stops to improve transit speed and reliability

TR-8 Upgrade and refurbish highly used transit stops to include amenities such as benches, shelters, trash cans, way finding signs and lighting

TR-9 Relocate stops that feel unsafe or are placed near high-speed vehicle traffic

TR-10 Invest in all-door boarding and off-board fare payment

TR-11 Improve accessibility at transit stops for those in wheelchairs or with limited mobility. Continue to add ADA-compliant pads, and prioritize improvements in neighborhoods experiencing poverty

TR-12 Create a framework where ride-hailing services reduce overall trips by combining them with other tools such as walking, biking, transit, shared rides, and compact development


Ensuring that transportation alternatives are feasible and safe for Saint Paul residents is crucial to see changes in the ways that people move around the city. The presence and maintenance of the mobility infrastructure like bicycle lanes and curb cuts for all types of wheels and walkers can help improve user experience.

Land Use and Mobility

Key Initiatives:

LM-1 Accelerate the build-out of the full bicycle network planned in the Saint Paul Bicycle Plan to add a total of 195 miles of new bikeways; update the plan to reflect best practices prioritizing protected bicycle facilities over unprotected or shared lanes

LM-2 Invest in driver education programs to improve the visibility and acceptance of those walking and biking on city streets and enhance safety

LM-3 Outline clear policies for electric bikes, skateboards, and scooters on city bike lanes, paths, and trails

LM-4 Implement a road diet on all four-lane city streets

LM-5 Incorporate accessibility options for wheelchairs and other mobility devices in build-out of protected lanes

LM-6 Enable the ubiquitous availability of shared bicycles in all the transit market areas defined by the Metropolitan Council

LM-7 Work with stakeholders to incentivize bike usage by providing bike-share memberships and increase the availability of bike showers and lockers

LM-8 Improve bicycle access and parking at transit stations and stops and expand the number of transit routes that allow bikes to be brought on board

LM-9 Redesign roads to be safer for people by narrowing streets through four-to-three lane conversions, reduced street widths, curb extensions, and refuge medians

LM-10 Dedicate annual funding for the Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Traffic Safety Fund to move toward relative parity with investments in vehicle infrastructure

LM-11 Complete filling in the 327 miles of sidewalk gaps in the city, focusing on the high-priority areas defined in the city’s Pedestrian Plan

LM-12 Prioritize safe walking to transit stops. Ensure that pedestrian facilities near transit stops feel safe, comfortable and are accessible

LM-13 Continue to support and fund the Saint Paul Safe Routes to School Policy Plan to ensure the safety of children walking to school; work with students to help plan routes

LM-14 Invest in street crossing treatments that highlight pedestrian visibility and slow drivers

LM-15 Invest in proactive sidewalk inspections after heavy snowfalls and provide city resources to clear snow where needed


The cost of an electric vehicle (EV) continues to become more affordable. In order to enable wider adoption of electric vehicles, there needs to be investment in charging infrastructure (EVSE). Providing and prioritizing electric car-share hubs, allows residents to access cars without having to own one.


Key Initiatives:

EV-1 Continue to increase access to shared electric vehicles in partnership with car-sharing services and Xcel Energy

EV-2 Expand access to public charging infrastructure

EV-3 Ensure all residents are within a quarter mile of a mobility charging hub

EV-4 Incentivize electric vehicle sales by providing charging at city-owned parking lots and working with employers to provide workplace charging

EV-5 Provide a regulatory framework to permit charging on residential streets in front of multifamily dwellings

EV-6 Proactively encourage the safe use of non-car electric vehicles such as e-bikes and scooters on city rights-of-way

EV-7 Implement building ordinances that require new developments to have wiring capacity to charge electric vehicles and reserve a percentage of new parking spots for exclusive EV use

EV-8 Encourage electric car-sharing programs to help familiarize residents with EVs, while reducing total driving demand. Prioritize deployment of these programs in areas with low levels of car ownership

  • Reduce your Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT)
    • Ride a bike, take a scooter, or walk when possible
    • Use public transit
    • Carpool
  • Use the Evie Carshare Program
  • Switch from a gas-powered vehicle to an electric vehicle
    • Find incentives and rebates online to purchase your own EV