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Transportation and Climate Change Clearinghouse

Surface Transportation Planning

General Resources | Land Use Strategies | Mass Transit/Public Transportation

General Resources

The Benefits of Reducing Fuel Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Light-Duty Vehicles (April 2008)
Thomas C. Austin, Thomas R. Carlson, James M. Lyons. Sierra Research Inc.
This report discusses the effectiveness of different strategies of reducing US dependence on foreign fossil fuels.
Greenhouse Gas Reduction Through State and Local Transportation Planning - Final Report (2003) (PDF 1.11MB)
U.S. Department of Transportation, Center for Climate Change and Environmental Forecasting
This report evaluates how states and local areas might contribute to GHG emission reduction through transportation planning. Seven case studies focus on the broad transportation planning process, strategies and other actions selected, and GHG emission reductions accomplished or projected.
Greening Fleets: A Roadmap to Lower Costs and Cleaner Corporate Fleets (PDF 287kb)
Environmental Defense Fund
This report highlights a partnership to develop best practices for reducing GHG emissions from corporate fleets while lowering costs. The reports finds several companies using the vehicle fleet manager and leasing company PHH Arval Inc.'s GreenFleet program achieved emission reductions averaging 14 percent while reducing operating costs by 4 percent.
Incorporating Climate Change Considerations into the Transportation Planning Process (2009)
Meyer, Michael D; Schmidt, Nicholas. Transportation Research Board
Transportation emissions are a significant contributor to climate change. Transportation plans and related documentation of metropolitan planning organizations and international cities were reviewed to ascertain whether climate change considerations are being incorporated into the transportation planning process. The review revealed that climate change considerations have not yet been included in a majority of cases in the transportation planning process, especially with regard to adapting transportation systems to the potential effects of climate change.
Integrating Sustainable Transport Measures into the Clean Development Mechanism (2009) (PDF 109kb)
Transport Reviews, Vol. 29 No. 1
While the number of projects under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is expanding rapidly, there currently are relatively few transport projects in the global CDM portfolio. This article examines existing CDM transport projects and explores whether sectoral approaches to the CDM may provide a better framework for transport than the current project-based CDM.
Policy Options for Reducing CO2 Emissions (2008) (PDF 606kb)
Congressional Budget Office
This report compares the incentive-based approaches to curb activities that produce CO2 emissions, such as tax on emissions, cap on the total annual level of emissions, and a modified cap-and-trade program. These approaches were examined based on three criteria: 1) efficiency considerations, 2) implementation considerations, and 3) international consistency considerations.
Transport Outlook 2008 Focusing on CO2 Emissions from Road Vehicles (2008) (PDF 500kb)
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development - International Transportation Forum - Joint Transport Research Center
This short outlook examines the potential for key policy instruments for mitigating emissions from road transport and the uncertainties in the baseline scenario for the development of CO2 emissions from the sector. This document is the first step towards the development of a full-fledge Transport Outlook and provides elements of a useful framework for discussions on the policy challenges presented by the risk of costly consequences from anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases.
TravelMatters: Mitigating Climate Change with Sustainable Surface Transportation (2004)
Transit Cooperative Research Program, Transportation Research Board
TravelMatters is a website for those interested in learning more about how travel habits and transportation choices affect global climate change. TravelMatters offers a trio of resources—interactive emissions calculators, on-line emissions maps, and a wealth of educational content—to emphasize the close relationship between more efficient transit systems and lower greenhouse gas emissions. The associated report, Mitigating Climate Change with Sustainable Surface Transportation (2004), is available on this site.

Land Use Strategies

Assessing State Long Range Transportation Planning Initiatives in the Northeast for Climate and Energy Benefits (2005) (PDF 704kb)
U.S. Department of Transportation, Center for Climate Change and Environmental Forecasting
This study identifies long range transportation planning (LRTP) best practices for climate protection and energy efficiency outcomes, which were selected based on interviews with LRTP professionals, a literature search, and a review of state LRTPs in the 29 states with Climate Action Plans, or gubernatorial initiatives directing state agencies to coordinate planning for climate and energy efficiency outcomes. Fifteen state transportation plans were selected to further analyze planning processes that contain a specific intention to integrate climate and energy outcomes into long range transportation planning and identify best practices for integration by state Department of Transportations (DOTs).
Assessment of Local Models and Tools for Analyzing Smart-Growth Strategies (2007) (PDF 4.3mb)
California Department of Transportation
This study focuses on models and tools available for use by cities and counties in California for assessing the potential effects of smart-growth strategies. The majority of regional agencies and local jurisdictions in California currently use a version of the Urban Transportation Modeling System (UTMS), commonly referred to as the “four-step travel demand model.” This study provides a review of the steps in the UTMS process to identify where sensitivity to smart-growth strategies may be limited during the modeling process, and suggests ways that improvements could be made.
Center for Clean Air Policy Transportation Guidebook (2007)
Center for Clean Air Policy
The CCAP Transportation Guidebook is to engage state and local officials in understanding the extent to which policy decisions impact air pollution, energy use, and greenhouse gas emissions. The Emissions Guidebook consists of two parts: 1) Land Use, Transit, and Demand Management, focusing on policies related to travel demand and examines the impacts of land use and investment decisions on transportation emissions and 2) Vehicle Technology and Fuels, focusing on measures that influence vehicle technology, fuel and operational choices that impact transportation emissions.
Current Practices in Greenhouse Gas Emissions Savings from Transit (PDF 7.94 mb)
Transit Cooperative Research Program
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.
Growing Cooler: The Evidence on Urban Development and Climate Change (2008)
Urban Land Institute
This report illustrates how compact development can be a crucial strategy in combating greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles. It makes the case that one of the best ways to get people to drive less is to build pedestrian-friendly places with a mix of uses, where people can walk, bike, or take transit from their homes to offices, schools, restaurants, and shopping. The report recommends policy and program changes that can be implemented at the local, regional, state, and federal levels to make green, compact neighborhoods more available and more affordable.
Increases in Greenhouse-Gas Emissions from Highway-Widening Projects (2007)
Sightline Institute
This paper presents an estimation of the emissions resulting from highway lane expansion, based on a spreadsheet model developed by Sightline. The paper discusses not only the effects from the changes in vehicle travel, but the impacts from the actual construction of the lane expansion as well.
New Data for a New Era: A Summary of the SMARTRAQ Findings: Linking Land Use, Transportation, Air Quality and Health in the Atlanta Region (2007) (PDF 16.26 MB)
SMARTRAQ, a collaboration between Georgia Tech and the Georgia Department of Transportation
This report summarizes the results of one of the largest, most comprehensive planning studies yet undertaken for a large metropolitan area. Dubbed SMARTRAQ (Strategies for Metro Atlanta's Transportation and Air Quality), it is an ambitious attempt to understand how the layout of our neighborhoods, cities and region affects the amount of driving, walking or riding on transit that we do, and how those travel patterns in turn affect our personal and environmental health. Beyond that, the study probes the neighborhood preferences of metro residents to gain a sense of the market for various alternatives. The study was sponsored by an unprecedented array of federal and state transportation, environmental and health agencies, with assistance from a local foundation and non-profit organizations.
Smart Growth Program
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
This site provides information about research, tools, partnerships, case studies, grants, and technical assistance to encourage and support smart growth across the U.S.
The Transportation and Environmental Impacts of Infill versus Greenfield Development: A Comparative Case Study Analysis (1999) (PDF 367kb)
Environmental Protection Agency
This study models the transportation and environmental impacts of locating the same development on two sites-one infill and one suburban edge/greenfield-and compares the results. This analysis was conducted in three regions: San Diego, California; Montgomery County, Maryland; and West Palm Beach, Florida.
Transit Greenhouse Gas Emissions Management Compendium (PDF 1.52 mb)
Federal Transit Administration
The objective of this Compendium is to provide up-to-date information to transit operators, as well as regional transportation planners and decision–makers, on the sort of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions being reported, and on the sources of information available for making informed decisions about specific GHG reduction actions.

Mass Transit / Public Transportation

The Broader Connection between Public Transportation, Energy Conservation and Greenhouse Gas Reduction (2008) (PDF 149kb)
American Public Transportation Association
This study examines the way in which public transportation interacts with land use patterns, changing travel patterns in neighborhoods served by transit. This effect would apply not just to transit riders, who make an exchange of automobile use for transit, but also for people who do not use transit. These people, who live in places shaped by transit, would tend to drive less, thus reducing their overall petroleum use and their carbon footprint. The study determined there provides a significant correlation between transit availability and reduced automobile travel, independent of transit use. This study calculates the total effects of public transportation to reduce energy use in the U.S. by the equivalent of 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline, or 37 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
Public Transportation and Petroleum Savings in the U.S.: Reducing Dependence on Oil (2007) (PDF 1.80mb)
American Public Transportation Association
This independent analysis looks at the energy and fuel consumption benefits of public transportation - both for individual households and for the nation as a whole. Using conservative assumptions, the study found that current public transportation usage reduces U.S. gasoline consumption by 1.4 billion gallons each year. These savings result from the efficiency of carrying multiple passengers in each vehicle, the reduction in traffic congestion from fewer automobiles on the roads, and the varied sources of energy for public transportation. In addition, it explores a possible future where many more Americans would have the choice to take public transportation.
Public Transportation's Contribution to Greenhouse Gas Reduction (2007) (PDF 390kb)
American Public Transportation Association
This report addresses four questions:
  1. How much net CO2 is public transportation saving in the U.S. from the current level of services being offered?
  2. How much additional CO2 savings are possible if incremental public transportation passenger loads are increased?
  3. What is the significance of non-public transportation commuter use at a household level and what can households do to save additional CO2?
  4. Are there favorable land use impacts that public transportation contributes to that result in positive environmental and social benefits?
Answers to these questions show that public transportation is a highly valuable asset for addressing climate change through surface transportation strategies.
Public Transportation's Role in Responding to Climate Change (PDF 647kb)
Federal Transit Administration
This report provides an analysis of transportation data (e.g., public transportation fuel use; vehicles deployed; ridership) to determine the relative impacts of automobile, truck, SUV, and public transportation travel on the production of greenhouse gas emissions. The report includes a description of FTA actions that address climate change.
Traveler Response to Transportation System Changes Handbook (1999-2008)
Transportation Research Board
This sourcebook examines how travel demand is affected by transportation system changes and built environment options. Strategies examined include multimodal/ intermodal facilities, transit facilities and services, public transit operations, transportation pricing, land use and non-motorized travel, and transportation demand management.

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