The National Academies

NCHRP 08-36/Task 107 [Final]

Synthesis of State DOT and MPO Planning and Analyses on Strategies to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
[ NCHRP 08-36 (Research for the AASHTO Standing Committee on Planning) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $50,000
Research Agency: PB Americas, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Michael Meyer
Effective Date: 7/8/2011
Completion Date: 5/31/2013
Comments: Complete. FInal Report sent to AASHTO.

The President and several legislative proposals have suggested a national GHG reduction target of 80% below 2005 levels by 2050. In addition, many states have set or are considering setting GHG reduction targets at similar levels. Although different sectors of the economy may be asked to achieve different levels of reductions, the transportation sector needs to be prepared to make reductions. Specifically, state DOTs and MPOs need to be prepared to identify strategies and combinations of strategies that would achieve various levels of emissions reductions. Only a handful of state DOTs and MPOs have attempted to identify and analyze the reduction potential of strategies for their specific area, and it is important for these to serve as a learning opportunity for the rest of the country.
This project will provide a synthesis of the planning and analyses being done by MPOs and state DOTs on strategies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The results will help educate other MPOs and state DOTs who have not begun considering GHG reduction strategies in their own planning processes.
The purpose of this research is to (1) identify which state DOTs and MPOs have conducted thorough analyses of strategies needed to reduce GHG emissions to a given target level and considered incorporating these strategies into their transportation planning and (2) provide a synthesis of the types of analyses used by each of these state DOTs and MPOs, including similarities and differences between the types.
There are several completed and ongoing research efforts that have analyzed the potential of various strategies to reduce GHG emissions in the transportation sector, including:
·        SHRP 2 CO9: Incorporating GHG Emissions into the Collaborative Decision-Making Process 
·        NCHRP 20-24(70): Update the 2003 Report Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from U.S. Transportation
·        FHWA contract – RSG/RAND/The Planning Center: Mitigation Guidebook and Web-Based Tool & Climate Change Scenario Planning
·        FHWA-BAA Awarded to PB/AMPO: Global Climate Change, Capacity Building for MPOs
Some of these studies have taken a scenario approach by looking at the potential from not just individual strategies but bundles of strategies that could be used by state departments of transportation (DOTs) and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs). These studies have provided a wealth of information to transportation professionals who are or may be asked in the future to reduce emissions from the transportation sector. Despite the progress that has been made, more information is needed on what the real reduction potentials are at the local level. Anticipating that federal policy discussions will continue to consider a national GHG reduction target and/or the inclusion of GHGs in transportation planning, AASHTO and AMPO wish to have more information about what state DOTs and MPOs are doing to analyze and plan the potential GHG reductions from strategies that are realistic to their locale. 

The contractor's final report is available HERE.

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