Our Travel Transition

Madison's transportation network – streets, sidewalks, and bikeways – is essential to our daily lives. It can also have a big impact in carbon emissions. In Madison, greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector accounted for 41% of the emissions community-wide in the 2015 Greenhouse Gas Inventory.

The City of Madison is transitioning to low- and no-emissions vehicles, expanding climate-friendly public transit, and updating infrastructure to help reduce the need for driving and expand the use of electric vehicles while improving safety, equitable access, and mobility.

Passengers boarding a Madison Metro Transit bus.
Madison Metro transit provides public transit to communities across the city.

Growing a Sustainable Fleet

The City operates a fleet of light and heavy duty vehicles, from street sweepers and passenger cars to garbage trucks and ambulances. The City is doing its part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from all of our vehicles by quickly transitioning our fleet to models that operate on low- to no-carbon fuel sources, such as electric and biodiesel vehicles. Types of electric vehicles available is constantly expanding. The City now has over 85 electric vehicles, more than 150 hybrid-electric vehicles, and the first all-electric fire truck operating in the US. In addition, the Fleet Division is using a host of other climate-friendly technologies, materials, and even building design to reduce our carbon footprint. 

Supporting EV Adoption

Madison is also working to spur the adoption of electric vehicles by individuals and businesses by making sure that new developing includes the infrastructure needed for EV charging. Since 2021, the City requires new multifamily residential buildings with 6 or more parking stalls and some new commercial developments are required to have EV chargers installed at 2% and 1% of parking spaces, respectively, and 10% of the spaces must be EV-Ready - that is, complete with wiring so that chargers can be easily installed in the future.

You can find electric vehicle charging stations at 6 city-owned parking facilities. Visit MGE's website for a full list and map of Madison-area public charging stations.

Electric fire truck parked in front of the Wisconsin State Capitol building.
The Fleet Division and Madison Fire Department have worked with Pierce Manufacturing to put into service the first ever electric fire truck in North America: the Volterra. 

Reducing Reliance on Driving Alone

Building complete neighborhoods, modernizing our Metro transit system, and investing in bikeways and sidewalks all help reduce our reliance on single-occupancy vehicles and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the process. Learn more about the City's work to improve transit options for our community.

Metro Forward

The City of Madison is working hard to provide a multi-modal transportation network where residents have low- to no-carbon transportation options for both local and regional travel. We’re building a new, all electric bus rapid transit (BRT) system that will begin operating in 2024 and redesigning our full Metro bus network to optimize routes of regular buses with BRT. BRT will expand access to affordable, no-carbon transportation to our community, and the all-electric buses will reduce GHG emissions and air pollution for the benefit of public health and the climate. We’re continuing to growing the city’s already extensive bike path network, and we’re actively pursuing expansion of intercity bus and rail options. All of these efforts enable residents to get from point A to point B without the expense of owning a personal vehicle.

Bike Madison

Madison has received numerous accolades for being a bike-friendly city - earning Platinum status from the League of American Cyclists and the Wisconsin Bike Federation, and consistently ranking among best cities for biking. With more than 75 miles of bike paths and 200 miles of trails, community members and visitors can commute, run errands, explore, or just get some fresh air by bike. The City supports Madison BCycle, our local bike-sharing program with more than 40 stations across the City.

A cyclist rides their bike on a bike path

Transportation Demand Management

Transportation Demand Management (TDM) is a package of policies and strategies to increase efficiency of our transportation network, reduce need for car travel, and encouraging transit and bicycle use. In 2019, driving alone accounted for roughly two-thirds of Madison's work-related commute trips (American Community Survey, 2019). TDM aims to reverse this trend and improve livability and multi-modal transportation access by providing more sustainable transportation options (such as biking and transit), as well as incorporating infrastructure and services within development proposals. TDM helps Madison efficiently use its street network and meet our climate goals by reducing carbon emissions.