Increasing concentrations of human-generated greenhouse gases, principally carbon dioxide, have been widely recognized by the scientific community as contributing to a gradual rise in global temperatures and various accompanying climatic disturbances. Carbon dioxide, much of which comes from the transportation sector through the burning of gasoline and diesel fuel, accounts for a large share of total human-generated greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. It is reasonable to anticipate, therefore, that climate-change-mitigation strategies will focus to some degree on the transportation sector – highway, rail, and water transport and their fuels. New taxes, emissions trading strategies, fuel-efficiency standards and other regulatory requirements, and government incentives to encourage use of alternative fuels are among the various proposals that may be considered for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Such mitigation options could have substantial impact on U. S. transportation and the challenges that state departments of transportation (DOTs) and other agencies face. Research is needed to support the efforts of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) to inform DOT leadership and others on these matters.
The objective of this research was to prepare a synthesis and briefing materials to present important elements of current research and opinion regarding the relationship of surface transportation to emissions of greenhouse gases and global climate change and the implications of government mitigation strategies for transportation-system management. The project entailed reviews of current literature on the transportation sector as a source of greenhouse gases, policy options for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions originating from transportation activities, and the consequences of government adoption of these options.
PRODUCTS: A report and presentation slides were prepared and delivered to AASHTO. The report is avalable by clicking here.