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Land Use and Transportation Planning for Climate Change

Transportation Carbon Emissions

The transportation sector accounts for roughly 38% of Oregon's carbon emissions. Therefore, it is important that we look for areas where we can reduce the impact of transportation on the environment. There are three main policy areas for reducing carbon emissions from transportation: fuel efficiency, carbon content in fuel, and the amount vehicles travel, or Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT).

Looking at these three policy areas, two of the three are largely handled by the state and federal government. Government can regulate and improve the overall fuel efficiency, and it can regulate the content of fuels in order to lower the carbon content. The government can also encourage the purchase or use of fuel efficient, and alternative fuel, vehicles.

However, reducing the amount of driving, or VMT, is primarily addressed at the local level by the following actions:

  • promoting strategies that reduce the length of trips, and
  • developing communities that support public transit, biking, or walking for errands, outings, and trips to work.

One of the most important ways communities can reduce driving is to bring land uses closer together. Communities can do this by increasing the density of the built environment and mixing land uses. For example, communities should place retail and commercial services near residential communities in order to shorten the distance residents must travel to reach these services. Overall, this reduces distances people have to drive, provides more transportation options, and makes walking, biking and transit trips more feasible.

Smart Growth

Smart growth is an approach to development that encourages a mix of building types and uses, diverse housing and transportation options, development within existing neighborhoods, and community engagement. There are 10 principles that are considered to be the foundation of a smart growth planning approach. These principles are found on the Smart Growth America website. Also see the Cool Planning: A Handbook on Strategies to Slow Climate Change for more details on achieving smart growth.

Additional information on GHG reduction, rulemaking, legislative action, and scenario planning is provided below.

Resources and Tools

Place Types Tool
Scenario Planning Guidelines
Statewide Transportation Strategy and Implementation
Strategic Assessment Tools and Scenario Planning
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Toolkit
Climate Change Resources
Sept 23, 2019 Letter from Governor Kate Brown Directing Agencies to Implement Statewide Transportation Strategy (PDF)

Contact

Cody Meyer
Land Use and Transportation Planner
cody.meyer@state.or.us
Phone: 503-934-0005

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