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Transportation and Climate Change Clearinghouse

Case Studies

State DOT Activities


The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has considered climate change primarily through initiatives of Governor Janet Napolitano. Governor Janet Napolitano initiated the Arizona Climate Change Action Plan with Executive Order 2005-02. A representative from ADOT served on a Technical Working Group that helped to develop the Action Plan in 2005-2006. The plan proposed policies including the promotion of smart growth, transit, and alternative fuels and vehicle technologies. After the plan's completion, Executive Order 2006-13 directed ADOT to help implement the Clean Car Program and to implement a pilot program to allow hybrid vehicles in HOV lanes. Link to Arizona Climate Change Action Plan (PDF 1.53mb)

Executive Order 2006-13 (PDF 39kb) further established the Climate Change Executive Committee (CCEC). The CCEC is tasked with recommending strategies to implement recommendations in the Climate Action Plan. The Director of ADOT serves as a member of the CCEC. Link to Climate Change Executive Committee

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The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the California Transportation Commission (CTC) are moving rapidly to integrate climate change into the state's transportation planning framework. California is currently the only state to adopt mandatory greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets and is rapidly creating an administrative and regulatory framework in response. The state's transportation planning agencies are at the forefront of implementation. Link to Caltrans California Transportation Plan 2025 (Adopted April 2006)

In addition to incorporating climate change in its long-range transportation plan, Caltrans is producing a guidebook for the integration of climate change and transportation decision making in California. The CTC is drafting major new guidance for MPOs that will require them to incorporate climate change in their long-range transportation plans.

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Connecticut DOT (ConnDOT) discusses climate change in the trends and challenges and strategies of its long-range transportation plan. In its plan, ConnDOT provides a relatively robust discussion of climate change, GHG emissions, and fuel consumption. Within the plan, ConnDOT has a specific section to address Environment, Energy Conservation, and Quality of Life, in which they discuss the growing trends of people and goods movement over longer, more dispersed distances and the resulting increase in energy consumption. Link to Long-range Transportation Plan for the State of Connecticut, 2004-2030 (Adopted July 2004)

ConnDOT is also an active participant in the Governor's Steering Committee on Climate Change, which submitted the Connecticut Climate Change Action Plan 2005 to the General Assembly on February 15, 2005. The goal of the plan is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2010 and an additional 10 percent below that by the year 2020. The transportation goals resulting from the process include: "raising emission standards for new cars; reducing black carbon from diesel engines through the use of low sulfur diesel, engine improvements and tailpipe controls; investing in a hydrogen infrastructure and R&D program."

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The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) included climate change mitigation in the goals of its most recent long-range transportation plan, adopted in 2005. Among the goals of the long-range transportation plan are Enriched Quality of Life and Responsible Environmental Stewardship. One of seven long-range objectives under this goal is to "make transportation decisions that conserve and optimize non-renewable resources and promote the use of renewable resources (materials, facilities, and sources of energy) and include strategies to decrease greenhouse gases and air pollutants." A strategy to increase access to alternatives to single-occupant vehicles supports this objective.

More recently, FDOT has provided input to the Florida Climate Change Action Plan and appears to be considering further steps to integrate climate change in its own planning process. The Governor's Action Team on Energy and Climate Change convened in August 2007 to develop the Climate Change Action Plan. FDOT proposed strategies to 1) increase transportation system efficiency; 2) reduce growth in travel; and 3) change land use patterns. Link to FL Governor's Action Team

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Maine DOT address GHG emissions and climate change in strategies put forth in its long-range transportation plan. An addendum and summary to the LRTP, published in December 2007, includes a section titled Greenhouse Gases and Global Warming. The section provides an overview of the Maine emissions inventory, noting that the "transportation sector represents the largest source of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions in Maine at about 28 percent of total GHG emissions. Under a business-as-usual scenario, GHG emissions will increase 48 percent from 1990 levels by the year 2020." To address this issue, the draft plan cites the need for long-term strategies including utilizing low-GHG fuel, implementing tailpipe emissions standards slowing VMT growth, and increasing the availability of low-GHG travel choices (e.g., transit passenger rail, vanpools, walking, and biking). One of the main strategies emphasized in the plan is to shift freight movement from the highway to rail and marine modes. Link to Connecting Maine (December 2008)

The DOT also participated in drafting the Maine Climate Action Plan. The DOT also provided a grant to help facilitate the goal of the process, which is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2010, and to 10 percent below those levels by 2020. Link to Maine Climate Action Plan (Completed December 2004)

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The Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation (EOT) participated in the development of the Massachusetts Climate Protection Plan that defines actions the Commonwealth could take to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide. The plan established short-term, medium-term, and long-term emissions reduction goals for the state. To reach these goals, the state transportation agencies were charged with implementing a number of actions to reduce the consumption of energy and fuel, and thereby the emissions of GHGs. Link to Massachusetts Climate Protection Plan (May 2004)

The EOT subsequently included the principles of the Plan in its long-range transportation plan. The LRTP reiterates the tasks from the Climate Protection Plan. The EOT dedicates a section of Chapter 5: Transportation and Sustainable Development to the "Implementation of the New Massachusetts Climate Protection Plan." They outline the above commitments from the Climate Protection Plan and also detail their alternative fuels program and the use of recycled materials in pavement as part of this commitment. Link to Commonwealth of Massachusetts Long-Range Transportation Plan (Adopted 2006)

Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation: Integrating Climate Change Considerations into Transportation Decision Making This case study provides an overview of the efforts of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation (EOT) to integrate climate change considerations into transportation decision making. The activities profiled include involvement in the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act requirement to quantify the impacts of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions and identify measures to avoid, minimize, or mitigate such emissions. The case study also highlights the EOT's role in the Massachusetts Climate Protection Plan, which was released in May 2004 and defined actions the Commonwealth could take to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and the subsequent efforts to incorporate the plan's goals into the long range transportation plan. This document is currently a word file included on the SharePoint site.

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New Mexico

While the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) has not explicitly included climate change in its LRTP, many of the plan's strategies would help reduce GHG emissions from transportation if implemented. These include strategies to promote use of rail, public transportation, and non-motorized modes, as well as strategies to promote alternative fuels. Link to New Mexico 2025 Statewide Multimodal Transportation Plan (PDF 992kb) (Adopted 2005)

NMDOT is also conducting research with actual or potential linkages to climate change. From 2004 to 2006, NMDOT conducted a research project on Climate Change Decision Tools in Multimodal Transportation. The goals of the research were to develop a policy-making framework for GHG mitigation in a multimodal setting and to identify a candidate model for GHG emissions from multimodal transportation systems in New Mexico. See:

NMDOT is currently conducting a Travel Energy Study to consider the impact of energy use on future travel trends in New Mexico. This study will likely incorporate the link between transportation energy use and climate change.

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New York

New York's State Energy Plan, adopted in 2002, is one of the first in the nation to integrate transportation planning, energy conservation, greenhouse gas (CO2) mitigation, and air quality planning. The plan sets the following goals:

  • Reduce primary energy use per unit of gross state product by 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2010.
  • Increase renewable energy from 10 percent of primary energy use currently to 15 percent by 2020.
  • Reduce anthropogenic CO2 emissions to 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2010 and 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

One of the recommendations in the State Energy Plan is that MPOs, in conjunction with the State, assess the energy use and greenhouse gas emissions expected to result from implementation of transportation plans and programs. In response, NYSDOT has drafted detailed methodological guidance to help MPOs fulfill this recommendation. All 13 MPOs in New York have now estimated energy use and CO2 emissions from their LRTPs and also from their transportation improvement programs (TIPs). Link to New York's State Energy Plan

Governor Pataki established the New York Greenhouse Gas Task Force to identify and recommend policy options for reducing GHG emissions. This task force is a collaboration of the business community, environmental organizations, State agencies, and universities, and its aim is to reduce GHG emissions while maintaining economic growth. The Task Force's final report - released in May 2003 - outlined 27 recommendations for reducing GHG emissions in New York State, such as setting a state reduction target and channeling State transportation funds to finance less GHG-intensive activities.

New York's statewide transportation plan, Strategies for a New Age: New York State's Transportation Master Plan for 2030, was adopted in Summer 2006. While this plan does not include mention of "climate change," it contains a goal related to "Environmental Sustainability." Under that goal, the plan states that transportation investments "must help conserve New York State's use of non-renewable energy resources and reduce fuel emissions and greenhouse gases." The statewide transportation plan discusses a number of strategies it is pursuing to reduce GHG emissions, such as alleviating congestion, travel demand management, ensuring consistency between transportation planning and local land use plans, and expanding use of biofuels in the state fleet as well as local fleets. Link to New York Statewide Transportation Plan

New York reportedly considers greenhouse gas and energy use during the project alternative selection for major highway projects. NYSDOT recently formed an Energy Team, a multi-disciplinary group with representative from all relevant program areas within the DOT.

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The Oregon Transportation Plan (OTP) recognizes the impact of transportation on climate change in its trends and challenges: "Transportation is causing global warming and other environmental degradation." It establishes global warming as a major challenge area for the transportation system. Rising sea levels and increased wave heights due to global warming could impact Highway 101, coastal ports, and other coastal transportation facilities in Oregon. Referencing the Oregon Strategy for Greenhouse Gas Reductions (2004), the plan also summarizes strategies that can reduce GHG emissions: Link to Oregon Transportation Plan (Adopted September 2006)

In addition, the state's Transportation Commission participates in the state's Climate Change Integration Group. The Oregon Transportation Commission, which oversees the activities of ODOT and has statutory responsibility for creating the OTP, participates in the Governor's Climate Change Integration Group (CCIG). The CCIG is tasked with continuing and expanding the work of the Governor's Advisory Group on Global Warming, which published the Oregon Strategy for Greenhouse Gas Reductions in 2004. One member from the Commission sits on the CCIG. The Commission was also represented on the previous advisory group. Link to Climate Change Integration Group

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The Washington Transportation Plan (WTP) references mitigation of climate change in trends and challenges: "Transportation systems touch many complex health and environmental issues: citizen and community health, land use, natural ecosystems, species protection, and climate change." The section includes an entire subsection on Climate Change and Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions. The page-long subsection provides scientific and policy background on climate change, including a list of current state actions to mitigate GHG emissions. Although no specific policies in the plan include explicit mention of climate change, the Transportation Commission does have a major new policy recommendation: Reduce Reliance on Fossil Fuels. The Commission recommends developing and promoting alternative fuels as a means to this end. Link to Washington Transportation Plan, 2007-2026 (Status: Adopted November 2006)

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and the Washington State Transportation Commission (WSTC) are considering climate change both in the long-range plan and through participation in inter-agency efforts, including the Washington Climate Advisory Team. The Washington Climate Advisory Team (CAT) is a multi-disciplinary stakeholder group tasked by Governor Christine Gregoire with proposing policies to reduce the state's GHG emissions. The effort is led by the Department of Ecology and the Department of Community, Trade, and Economic Development. Transportation is a major target area for emissions reductions. Representatives from both WSTC and WSDOT served on the Transportation Technical Working Group that supported this effort. Among the policies proposed by the Working Group and subsequently by the CAT are two that would directly affect transportation planning processes at multiple levels in Washington: Establish State, Regional, and Local VMT Reduction Goals and Standards Quantification of GHG Impacts of Transportation Plans, Programs, and Projects. Link to Washington Climate Advisory Team (Draft Recommendations: December 2007)

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