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Efficient Transportation – Snapshot of Local Agency Programs and Policies 2009


Climate Action Connection: Efficient Transportation

Transportation is the largest generator of greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, reducing vehicle miles travelled (VMT) and idling times are key components in addressing climate change.

Snapshot Summary

  • Virtually all cities and counties responding have goals or processes specifically designed to reduce automobile dependency.
  • Virtually all cities and counties responding are planning for “complete streets” that accommodate all modes of travel, such as pedestrian, bike, car and public transit along a single thoroughfare.
  • The majority of cities and counties responding have alternative commute programs for agency employees.
  • Many agencies utilize Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) which use information and communication technologies to improve traffic management.
  • Many agencies are purchasing fuel efficient vehicles for their agency fleets.

Highlights of Efficient Transportation Policies and Programs

  • Incorporating climate-related policies in general plans promotes community design features that reduce auto dependency and increase walkability, such as increasing the connections between streets, and improving sidewalks and bikeways.
  • Creative “dial a ride” programs that incorporate flexible route schedules and use small buses to offer residents alternatives to automobile travel.
  • New downtown development plans that incorporate transit options to enhance residents’ ability to use transit and link to regional transportation networks.
  • New technologies, such as Intelligent Transportation Systems, are available that increase the efficiency and reduce costs associated with community roadways.
  • Agency sponsored and supported alternative commute programs provide incentives for agency employees to use transit, carpools, vanpools, bike or walk to work.

Opportunities, Constraints and Lessons Learned

  • Intelligent Transportation Systems can be less expensive than widening roads.
  • Making participation in alternative commute programs as convenient as possible is a key to success. For example, including guaranteed ride home options for employees who work late or must leave early reduces their perception that they may need to have their car available at work.
  • Efficient transportation depends on land use policies that provide supportive patterns of land use and infrastructure development.
  • Educating the public and employees about transit options is important. While a local agency cannot dictate behavior changes, improving safety and convenience increases the likelihood that residents will use alternatives to auto travel.
  • Interagency collaboration is important and can reduce costs and improve efficiency.

So, What are Counties and Cities Doing?

 Click SNAPSHOT to learn what counties and cities are doing to:

  • undertake projects or adopt policies that address climate change through efficient transportation efforts
  • adopt greenhouse gas emission reduction activities in their transportation planning process
  • reduce locally generated greenhouse gas emissions through specific transportation-related policies or programs

Tell Us About Your Agency’s Programs

Would you like your city or county’s efficient transportation program to be added to our list? Let us know what your community is doing to promote efficient transportation to combat climate change by completing our short Climate Leadership Survey on Efficient Transportation.

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