Considering my recent uptick in searches related to Todd Litman, win-win emission reduction strategies and federal implementation of New Urbanism, some of you may have already heard about this. Nonetheless, here is Todd Litman’s latest Planetizen article on the US Department of Transportation‘s Earth Day release of their report, Transportation’s Role in Reducing US Greenhouse Gas Emissions. This shows a shift in policy away from simply advocating the creation and buying of more energy-efficient vehicles, since this has little long-term effect on emissions and none on other problems such as congestion, accidents, and sedentary living. This report evaluated the net costs of implementing different transportation strategies, and found the following to be most effective:
- Commute trip reduction programs ($1,000 per tonne net savings)
- Pay-as-you-drive vehicle insurance ($960 per tonne net savings)
- Smart growth land use policies ($700-800 per tonne net savings)
- Non-motorized transportation improvements ($600-700 per tonne net savings)
- Urban center cordon pricing ($530-640 per tonne net savings)
- Comprehensive congestion pricing ($440-570 per tonne net savings)
Not only do these save money in reducing carbon emissions, but they also reduce congestion, parking costs, consumer costs, accidents, energy costs, and sprawl, while improving public health and mobility for non-drivers. Litman says that the savings estimates may be conservative, because the study relied on out-dated data about how much can be saved by vehicle reductions and the benefits of pay-as-you-drive insurance. Even with these conservative estimates though, it is exciting to see the federal government recognizing the importance of transportation and planning policy in reaching other goals.