Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Find     
Site Image

Statewide Transportation Strategy Questions and Answers

What is the Statewide Transportation Strategy?
Why is Oregon taking on this effort?
Why do greenhouse gas emissions matter?
Why should Oregonians care about GHG emissions reduction?
Why focus on transportation? Other sources of emissions?
How was the STS developed?
What kinds of actions and strategies are included in the STS?
Are taxes and fees considered in the STS recommendations?
Does the STS create new laws or regulations?
When will the STS be finalized?

What is the Statewide Transportation Strategy?

The Statewide Transportation Strategy (STS) is a long-term vision, looking out to the year 2050, to help reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Oregon from three key travel markets: ground passenger and commercial services, freight, and air passenger. The STS explores how transportation and land use choices made over the coming decades might affect Oregon’s long-term future.

The STS identifies short- and long-term actions and strategies to create a transportation system that will be effective in reducing transportation-related GHG emissions in Oregon while supporting other societal goals such as livable communities, economic vitality, and public health.

The STS is part of the larger Oregon Sustainable Transportation Initiative (OSTI), an integrated statewide effort being undertaken jointly by the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Land Conservation and Development Division to reduce transportation-related GHG emissions. OSTI resulted from two bills passed by the Oregon Legislature, Senate Bill 1059 (2010).

 

Why is Oregon taking on this effort?

The STS was called for by the Oregon Legislature in Senate Bill 1059 (2010), which were crafted to help the state meet its 2050 goal of reducing transportation-related GHG emissions. The STS is part of OSTI and takes into consideration how the energy landscape is changing, as well as the need to sustain a strong economy while creating healthier, more livable communities and greater economic opportunity.

 

Why do greenhouse gas emissions matter?

An increase in average global temperatures could lead to some unwelcome changes in Oregon. Oregon’s transportation infrastructure is vulnerable to the anticipated impacts of climate change; from increased wave heights causing significant erosion along the coastline and threatening highways to more intense precipitation events causing flooding and increasing the incidence of landslides across the state, climate change will impact our transportation assets and system operations throughout Oregon. Already ODOT has experienced an increase in repair costs related to extreme weather events. These events also cause delay for motorists and shippers, impacting businesses. A smoothly operating transportation system is key to a healthy economy.

In addition to impacts to Oregon’s transportation infrastructure, other impacts from climate change include diminished water supplies and impacts to agricultural productivity, adverse health impacts such as an increase in heat-related and respiratory illnesses, and suffering ecosystems such as Oregon’s forests, grasslands, and watersheds.

In addition to reducing GHG emissions from the transportation sector, the STS aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness with which people and goods are moved, create healthier, more livable communities and new economic opportunities for Oregonians.

 

Why should Oregonians care about GHG emissions reduction?

Over the forty year horizon of the STS, Oregon will face a number of challenges that will require creative solutions. Indeed, factors such as population growth, a changing economy, and an aging transportation infrastructure will all require our attention whether or not we decide to take comprehensive action on climate change. The actions we employ to reduce GHG emissions will also create:

  • More efficient transportation systems that help people and goods travel more quickly and easily;
  • Reduced transportation costs for individuals and businesses; and
  • Increased choices for how people travel, including opportunities for biking, walking, and public transit.
 

Why focus on transportation? Other sources of emissions?

The travel of Oregonians and movement of goods consumed by Oregon’s households and businesses produce a large amount of GHG emissions – approximately a third of all emissions. Furthermore, Senate Bill 1059 directed the Oregon Transportation Commission to develop a strategy to reduce GHG emissions from transportation related sources in order to help the state achieve its GHG reduction goal of 75 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

While the focus of OSTI and the STS is on transportation, the Oregon Global Warming Commission, Governor’s 10-Year Energy Plan and others are addressing GHG emissions from other sources such as electrical power generation and industrial energy use to help meet the state’s goal of reducing GHG emissions.

 

How was the STS developed?

The STS was developed through a comprehensive two-year process involving extensive research and technical analysis, as well as policy direction and technical input from local governments, industry representatives, metropolitan planning organizations, state agencies, and others.

The STS was developed through a scenario-based planning process. Alternative scenarios were developed to test “what if situations” (such as what happens if vehicle fuel economy increases slowly or rapidly). Those strategies identified as the most effective at reducing GHG emissions with the fewest apparent negative impacts were selected to create the STS recommendations for the three travel markets (ground passenger and commercial services, freight, and air passenger).

 

What kinds of actions and strategies are included in the STS?

The STS identifies a broad suite of strategies--in transportation systems, vehicle and fuel technologies, and urban land use patterns that are found to be effective in reducing transportation-related GHG emissions. These consist of approaches that can be taken at the local, regional, state, and national level to help the state meet its GHG emissions reduction goals.

 

Are taxes and fees considered in the STS recommendations?

All STS strategies are on the table for discussion to determine what is practical and will best meet state and economic goals. These strategies will also be further evaluated in Phase II: Implementation. Some of the potential STS strategies of the STS look at funding sources and pricing mechanisms.

 

Does the STS create new laws or regulations?

The STS is neither directive nor regulatory, but rather points to promising approaches that should be further considered by policymakers at the state, regional, and local levels – collaboration and coordination among jurisdictions and private industries will also be important. In the future, some regulatory action may be needed to implement certain STS strategies, establish incentive programs, or encourage program exploration and participation.

 

When will the STS be finalized?

The development of the STS is one step in a multi-year planning and implementation process. With the acceptance of the STS on March 20, 2013 by the Oregon Transportation Commission, the Department is now focusing on STS implementation.