Sustainability in Teton County, Wyoming
Teton County, located in northwestern Wyoming, primarily encompasses the city of Jackson and
wilderness spaces including, but not limited to, part of Yellowstone National Park. The median sold housing price in the county is $2,005,000, making home ownership unaffordable for government employees and medium and low-income persons. As a result, a great percentage of the workforce has to make ‘roundtrips’ by car to and from their jobs and homes in surrounding counties in Wyoming and Idaho which increases pollution and wildlife-vehicle collisions. Given the intersectional issues that Teton County faces, our consulting team recommends a multi-phase plan of action. Part of the plan involves the creation of a sustainable multimodal system of transportation. This would include the electrification of the Southern Teton Area Rapid Transit (START) bus system. It would also include a bike rental program and the creation of an EV car-sharing system. Increased public transportation will reduce commutes in single occupancy vehicles which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions, improve quality of life among Teton County workers, and pave the way for the conversion of some parking lot space to housing development. Our housing plan relies on policy changes to address land-use regulation and zoning to encourage building denser and affordable housing. New developments should be prioritized for the workforce and allotted based on need. Given that structural change is needed to transform the transportation and housing systems of Teton County, the solutions will be costly, but the improvements to social and environmental sustainability enacted by these solutions will be well worth the expense.