This paper contemplates a vision for transportation in BC that sees the province dramatically reduce, and eventually eliminate, the greenhouse gas emissions attributable to transportation. We outline a strategic framework that aims to achieve a target of zero fossil fuels in transportation by 2040 — equivalent to the target set by the Greenest City Action Team for the City of Vancouver. More importantly, we wrestle with the key equity and social justice issues that arise in such an aggressive rethink of transportation. In particular, we articulate policies to facilitate a smooth transition for already disadvantaged social groups (poor, disabled, working families, elderly, and marginalized groups), and to win over, rather than punish, the wide range of households who are dependent on cars for their mobility because they have “just played by the rules.” The challenges facing British Columbians living in rural parts of the province are greater than for urban areas, but not…
This study is one of the first to test the effect of sidewalks on travel patterns and the first we know of to relate sidewalk availability with VMT (Vehicle Miles Traveled) and GHG (Greenhouse Gas) emissions. Recently, several large jurisdictions in King County have developed local sidewalk data layers, creating a new opportunity to look at pedestrian infrastructure alongside other investment and policy strategies associated with reduced VMT and CO2 (carbon dioxide). The study used travel outcome data from the 2006 PSRC (Puget Sound Regional Council) Household Activity Survey. The household-level analysis was restricted to households in King County cities where sidewalk data was already available, and modeled the association of urban form, pedestrian infrastructure, transit service and travel costs on VMT and CO2, while controlling for household characteristics known to influence travel.
The results provide early evidence in the potential effectiveness of …
The purpose of this white paper is to create a well-supported yet simple illustration of the relationship between household energy consumption and residential development patterns. For the purpose of this illustration, residential development patterns are generally described by housing location and housing type. The paper also takes into account energy efficiency measures in homes and vehicles as factors that aff ect household energy use.
Housing that is located in a walkable neighborhood near public transit, employment centers, schools, and other amenities allows residents to drive less and thereby reduces transportation costs. Development in such locations is deemed to be “location efficient,” given a more compact design, higher-density construction, and/ or inclusion of a diverse mix of uses. If American families can reduce their necessity to drive through better housing and transportation options, then commute times and household energy costs will drop.
Senate Bill (SB) 375, adopted in 2008, calls on regional transportation planning agencies and local governments to develop strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles by reducing per capita vehicle miles traveled (VMT). Three specific strategies, traditionally used to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality, are to be employed to help reduce emissions:
Higher-density development, particularly in areas well-served by transit;
Investments in alternatives to solo driving, such as transit, biking, walking, and carpooling; and
Pricing policies that raise the cost of driving and parking.
Although SB 375 is expected to reduce emissions only modestly relative to vehicle efficiency standards and low-carbon fuels, it is also expected to improve public health and reduce energy and water use by encouraging denser development and more “livable” communities. The integration of these three approaches is consistent with an emerging research…
This article examines changes in transport and land-use policies in Germany over the last 40 years that have encouraged more walking, bicycling and public transport use. It focuses on a case study of policy changes in the city of Freiburg, where over the last three decades, the number of bicycle trips tripled, public transport ridership doubled, and the share of trips by automobile declined from 38% to 32%. Since 1990, motorization rates have leveled-off and per-capita CO2 emissions from transport have fallen—despite strong economic growth. The analysis identifies policies that are transferable to car-oriented countries around the world.
The consensus of the scientific community is that human activity has contributed substantially to climate change through increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Given the potential impacts of a continuation of these trends, this conclusion suggests that significant action is warranted to reduce GHG emissions to avoid the worst possible consequences. One proposed course of action is to increase residential density, primarily on the grounds that it will reduce vehicle miles traveled, a measure that is closely related to the GHG emissions from driving.
Much of the vast volume of research conducted on the topic of residential density and its relationship to travel shows that there is a link between residential density and the number of vehicle miles traveled. However, the relationship is complex and characterized by inter-relationships that researchers are still in the process of disentangling. On the surface, there is a clear correlation between residential density…
This report summarizes the findings from a ULI panel that was formed to assess the economic implications of the California Senate Bill 375 (SB 375), and associated implementation recommendations. As the basis of this inquiry, the panel was charged with reviewing available empirical data and studies pertaining to SB 375 and the impacts of the kinds of development that full implementation is likely to produce, especially compact and transit-oriented development. Drawing on this research and its own substantial professional experience, the ULI panel then convened to review and discuss the economic impacts of SB 375 on the state’s economy and make recommendations that would help deliver on the bill’s goals of regional connectivity, policy alignment, efficient provision of infrastructure, and improved environmental quality.
SB 375 was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger on September 30, 2008. This bill links land use decisions to transportation…
Transit agencies have a key role to play in reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that contribute to climate change. Buses, trains, vans, and ferries can move passengers using less fuel than private vehicles can. Less fuel used generally means fewer GHGs emitted. Most U.S. transit agencies are already helping to reduce GHG emissions just by operating their current services, but transit agencies can further reduce GHG emissions and achieve other important goals by implementing strategies to increase ridership and improve the efficiency of their operations.
This study describes the role of transit agencies in reducing GHG emissions and catalogs the current practices of a sample of agencies. Research for this study included a literature review, a survey of 62 transit agencies, with 41 responding (66%); and interviews with three agencies.
Climate change is the broadest environmental challenge of the 21st century. Consequences of climate change expected in the coming years…
This study evaluates potentially viable strategies to reduce transportation greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The study was mandated by the Energy Independence and Security Act (P.L. 110-140, December 2007). The Act directed the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), in coordination with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and consultation with the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), to conduct a study of the impact of the Nation’s transportation system on climate change and strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change by reducing GHG emissions from transportation. This study also examines the potential impact of these strategies on air quality, petroleum savings, transportation goals, costs, and other factors. Each GHG reduction strategy may have various positive impacts (including co-benefits) or negative impacts on these factors. Potential tradeoffs and interdependencies when reducing GHG emissions will need to be considered in order to develop…
This report presents a summary of selected issues from the European Environment Agency Transport and Environment Reporting Mechanism (EEA TERM) set of transport and environment integration indicators. It is not simply a replication of indicators but rather an attempt to put insights from the indicators into the context of efforts to develop European policy towards achieving a low-carbon transport system.
The objective of this report is to indicate some of the main challenges to reducing the environmental impacts of transport and to make suggestions to improve the environmental performance of the transport system as a whole. The report examines issues centred around transport and climate change, which need to be addressed in the coming years. These issues are derived partly from the policy questions that form the backbone of TERM and partly from other ongoing work at EEA. As with previous TERM reports, this report evaluates the indicator trends measuring progress towards…