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Transportation and Climate Change Clearinghouse

Federal Programs Directory

It All Adds Up to Cleaner Air


It All Adds Up to Cleaner Air is a unique collaborative effort of the U.S. Department of Transportation ( DOT) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Developed and guided by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the EPA, the initiative is a multi-level public education and partnership-building program to inform the public about the connections between their transportation choices, traffic congestion, and air pollution through television, radio and print public service announcements (PSAs). The program emphasizes simple actions people can take that are convenient and can make a difference in air quality when practiced on a wide scale.

The American public desires both mobility and clean air. While progress has been made in achieving these goals, significant challenges remain to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality. Vehicle travel continues to increase, contributing to traffic congestion and air pollution. If technological improvements do not keep pace, emissions reductions achieved through cleaner cars and fuels could be offset.

Relationship to Climate Change

It All Adds Up to Cleaner Air is designed to address the escalating problem of traffic congestion and its relationship to air quality through positive messages that encourage the public to take voluntary actions, such as trip chaining (combining trips), car maintenance, and consideration of alternative modes of transportation, that can help meet the challenges of reducing traffic congestion and air pollution.

The messages developed in relation to the It All Adds Up to Cleaner Air campaign were designed to increase public awareness of the connection between travel behavior and air quality, with a focus on reducing the amounts of criteria air pollutants from motor vehicles. However, the messages also provide ancillary benefits related to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Transportation accounts for about a third of CO2 emissions in the U.S. - the major greenhouse gas. Because transportation is the nation's fastest growing sector, transportation's share of greenhouse gas emissions is increasing. In fact, it is estimated that concentrations of CO2 will almost double by 2100. While significant progress has been made in reducing criteria air pollutants from mobile sources through both regulatory and voluntary processes, CO2 emissions remain unregulated. Therefore, an effort must be made at the national level to increase awareness of the effect of individual travel decisions and transportation choices on air quality and traffic congestion. Public education initiatives such as It All Adds Up to Cleaner Air can highlight the effect that such decisions also have on CO2 emissions and criteria air pollutants.

DOT's Role

Since 1991, FWHA, FTA and EPA have been working to assist state departments of transportation and metropolitan planning organizations in meeting their transportation planning and air quality responsibilities under the TEA-21 and the Clean Air Act. This assistance comes in the form of funding for the development of public outreach materials, conducting research and evaluation, guiding development of creative materials such as television, radio and print PSA's and active participation as a resource to communities implementing the campaign. State and local government officials have requested federal government assistance in the form of public education and information to raise awareness of the relationship between transportation and air quality. In response to these requests, the U.S. DOT and U.S. EPA have developed a comprehensive long-term public education and information initiative on transportation and air quality.

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