You’ve seen those desperate legions on the highways in the morning and the evening. Cars driven by only one person, thousands of pounds of metal headed to work or to home, burning fuel all the way. Now, the state says it wants to get people out of their cars and using some other way to get to work.

In a concerted effort to prioritize mass transit and smart growth, the state has announced plans to triple the share of non-car travel by 2030, a long-range goal officials said would cut emissions of greenhouse gas and improve overall public health.

Richard Davey, the state transportation secretary, said the state would pursue a range of policies aimed at increasing the number of people who walk, bike, or take the train to work. Reducing the ranks of solo drivers will ease highway congestion, help the environment, and spur people to stay more active, he said.

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“We’re trying to get people to and fro in a different way,” he said at a news conference Tuesday at South Station.

Davey said the goal was ambitious but achievable, and said he was confident more drivers would change their habits if presented better alternatives, from reliable train service to safer cycling and walking routes.

“If you give people a reliable ride, people will shift,” he said.

A number of environmental and transporation advocates hailed the initiative as an important step, and a measuring stick for future

“Of all the state’s green policies, this is the one that really counts,” said Marc Draisen, who directs the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, a regional planning group that supports the development around transportation hubs, known as smart growth.