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Strategy lays out vision for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation
Under the Oregon Sustainable Transportation Initiative (OSTI), ODOT is collaborating with other state agencies and stakeholders to implement Legislative direction to identify ways to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from Oregon’s transportation sector. This statewide effort helps meet the state’s goals for reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions by 75 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

The draft Statewide Transportation Strategy (STS), an element of OSTI, is a long-term vision that looks to the year 2050 and explores how transportation and land use choices over the coming decades could affect GHG emissions. The draft strategy identifies the most promising approaches to significant GHG reductions while also gauging how these approaches impact other important societal goals, such as energy consumption, transportation system performance, the economy, public health, and other areas.

During the development of the STS, impacts were looked at in four major areas: changes to land use patterns, expanded transportation choices, advances in vehicles and system technology, and different ways of charging for use of the transportation system. The strategies that showed the best possible outcomes were selected to form the strategy recommendations for three different travel markets:
  • Ground passenger and commercial services
  • Freight transportation
  • Air passenger
The ground passenger/commercial services travel market strategies include encouraging mixed-use neighborhoods and significantly improved transportation options, which will result in shorter trips, more trips taken by low-emission modes, and lower levels of per capita vehicle miles traveled. The strategy also recommends using intelligent transportation system technology to improve the efficiency of the transportation system as well as significant market penetration of fuel-efficient and low- or zero-emission vehicles.

On the freight side, the strategy envisions a shift toward more efficient freight modes, lower carbon fuels, and a shift toward high value industries. Even with these strategies, the freight sector will not see GHG reductions as significant as on the passenger travel side: by 2050, the strategy foresees the potential for a 30 percent reduction below 1990 levels, largely because increased economic activity would offset reductions from implementing recommended strategies

The air passenger travel market looks at improvements in energy efficiency of aircraft and engine technologies, as well as reducing air travel demand through alternative modes and advanced telecommunications.

With all of these strategies in place, the STS is projected to reduce GHG emissions 60 percent below 1990 levels. The strategies recommended would have significant benefits beyond GHG emissions. The performance of the transportation system will increase as per capita vehicle miles traveled and associated delay decline and transit service improves; public health will improve due to a more active population and lower pollution levels.

The draft strategy has been released by the Oregon Transportation Commission for public review and comment through July 20. For more information, including the public review draft of the Statewide Transportation Strategy, visit the strategy’s webpage.