Strategies for Reducing the Impacts of Surface Transportation on Global Climate Change: A Synthesis of Policy Research and State and Local Mitigation Strategies

Principal Investigator:

Laurie McGinnis, Director, Center for Transportation Studies

Project Summary:

Current worldwide goals for greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions will require unprecedented changes in individual behavior, and climate change may well be the single biggest issue affecting the future of transportation in the United States. In addition, the United States will be expected to bear deeper GHG reductions than other countries. Prepared for the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, this project's report outlined the threat of global climate change and suggested strategies for reducing GHG emissions in surface transportation, particularly in the areas of vehicle efficiency, vehicle miles traveled, construction, maintenance, and operation and administration of transportation systems. A scenario analysis showed how different combinations of strategies could reduce greenhouse gas emissions over time periods from 2005 to 2050. The report also listed and described over 30 U.S. states and countries that have already developed or are in the process of developing climate action plans (CAPs). Finally, the project outlined the potential effects of climate change on transportation systems, such as sea level, storm, and temperature effects, and steps that departments of transportation can take to adjust to this reality.

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