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…
This study also examines real-world potential to use transit and transit-oriented development as an emissions reduction strategy in three different future development scenarios for the Chicago metropolitan area. The first is business-as-usual. The second assumes that residential and employment growth will continue at the same rate in the city and in the suburbs, but that all of this growth will be accommodated in the half-mile radius around stations. The second scenario is based on growth projections from Chicago’s regional planning agency. The third scenario explores concentrating housing and jobs within a half-mile radius of transit stations, regardless of growth projections. The second scenario reduces emissions by 28 percent from levels of emissions growth that would have taken place without those strategies, while the third scenario results in a 36 percent reduction from levels of emissions growth that would have taken place without those strategies. (The study assumes no…
Data from National Transit Database, combined with Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency information, examines impacts of automobile, truck, SUV, and public transportation travel on the production of greenhouse gas emissions.
There are many diverse reasons to pursue compact development outcomes. Convenient and conducive to healthy lifestyles, clustered development patterns help lower overall community infrastructure costs by pulling land uses closer together. Now, as interest in building more compact neighborhoods, cities, and metropolitan regions has grown, another, related question has arisen: Can compact development help mitigate climate change by reducing the amount of driving people do?
The Local Government Climate and Energy Strategy Guides provide a comprehensive, straightforward overview of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction strategies that local governments can employ. Topics include energy efficiency, transportation, community planning and design, solid waste and materials management, and renewable energy. City, county, territorial, tribal, and regional government staff and elected officials can use these guides to plan, implement, and evaluate climate and energy projects.
The Hudson Bergen Light Rail (HBLR) line saved New Jersey and New York commuters more than 3.4 million gallons of gasoline last year - the equivalent fuel consumed by 6,000 cars annually. Transportation is responsible for more than two-thirds of our nation’s oil consumption and nearly a third of our carbon dioxide emissions. To make us more energy independent and reduce pollution, we need to build a transportation system that uses less oil, takes advantage of alternative fuels, and shifts as much of our travel as possible from transportation modes that consume a lot of energy to those that consume less.
Transportation is responsible for more than two-thirds of our nation’s oil consumption and nearly a third of our carbon dioxide emissions. To make us more energy independent and reduce pollution, we need to build a transportation system that uses less oil, takes advantage of alternative fuels, and shifts as much of our travel as possible from transportation modes that consume a lot of energy to those that consume less.
Public transportation meets this need by getting people to work and school using less oil and creating less pollution than driving. Last year, people drove fewer miles and replaced many of these trips by using more public transportation—record growth that has largely carried over to 2009. Many states saw dramatic, record-breaking growth in annual transit ridership last year, as detailed in Table 1.
Nationwide, in 2008 transit ridership rose by 4 percent and people drove nearly 4 percent less than they did the year before. Overall, Americans…
The Need to Connect Transportation and Climate Change Policies
Nearly one third of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the U.S. come from the transportation sector, making it the nation’s largest end-use source of emissions. Moreover, transportation is the fastest growing source of U.S. emissions, accounting for almost half of the net increase in total U.S. emissions between 1990 and 2007.1 Transportation GHG emissions are a result of three drivers — vehicle fuel efficiency, fuel emissions and how much people drive, as measured in vehicle miles traveled (VMT). In 2007, Congress addressed the first two drivers by improving Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards and mandating reduced GHG intensity of motor fuels. However, Congress has not put the same effort into improving travel choices to address how much people drive. Historically, U.S. transportation policy and infrastructure investments tend to encourage more driving. If we do not change how we invest…
Climate change poses two fundamental challenges for the transport sector: transport will have to significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and it will require investment in order to adapt to impacts of climate change.
The scale and scope of emission reductions sought by policy makers are daunting but there is much that can still be achieved within the transport sector at low cost – especially against a background of high energy prices. Governments will deploy many policies simultaneously and can avoid unnecessary costs if transport sector GHG mitigation is planned on the basis of marginal abatement costs and focuses on the most cost-effective actions. Success will depend on action across several fronts encompassing technology, fuels, and travel behaviour – regional circumstances will play an important role in determining the allocation of effort.
Industry will require clear, consistent and durable signals to guide low-carbon innovation and households will…
Chapter 1: SB 375 Can Make California More Affordable
California has often led the country in developing innovative, successful responses to environmental crises. Over the past three years, California has taken a leadership role in addressing global warming. AB 32, passed in 2006, committed the state to significant greenhouse gas emission reductions. This law is more than a symbolic gesture: California is the 15th largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in the world.
Of those emissions, transportation comprises by far the largest and fastest-growing source, representing nearly 40 percent of all emissions in the state.
The groundbreaking SB 375, passed in 2008, will make it easier for Californians to drive less. It will help to link local and regional planning to create more convenient and efficient communities, with shorter commutes and more transportation choices. Combined with already-approved approaches to cleaner fuels and efficient vehicles, SB 375 is pivotal for…