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Summary of FHWA Climate Mitigation Initiatives

With over a fourth of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the U.S. coming from the transportation sector, FHWA is committed to reducing emissions from vehicles traveling on our nation's highways. This is in line with the Administration's GHG emissions reduction goal of 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and working towards the 50 to 85 percent reductions needed by 2050 to avoid the more severe climate impacts associated with global average temperature increase above 4°F.1

Through peer exchanges and workshops, FHWA found that state departments of transportation (DOTs) and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) needed technical assistance in developing effective GHG emissions reduction strategies. As such, FHWA developed a tool and supporting resources for analyzing strategies ranging from parking pricing and HOV lanes to compact development and public transportation. FHWA is also finishing work on a spreadsheet tool to calculate GHG emissions from construction and maintenance of highway and transit infrastructure. Finally, FHWA is researching the implications of increased electric vehicle deployment as well as actions FHWA and stakeholders can take to support this deployment, such as providing public charging stations. More specific information on each of these projects appears below.

FHWA continues to emphasize the importance of GHG emissions analysis at the system planning level, where the largest potential for GHG impact lies. FHWA works within existing authority to assist and encourage states and MPOs to reduce GHG emissions at the planning and program level. In November 2008, FHWA and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) jointly issued a memo clarifying that planning program funds can be used to support the integration of transportation, land use, and climate change.

FHWA has developed a series of tools and resources for developing effective GHG emissions reduction strategies:

Through workshops, peer exchanges, demonstration pilots, webinars, newsletters, and day-to-day working relationships, FHWA has encouraged State DOT and MPO partners to use these resources and others to analyze and address greenhouse gas emissions from their transportation programs.

FHWA has several resources under development to further integrate GHG emissions consideration into the overall highway program:

1 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Synthesis Report: Summary for Policymakers, 2007.

Updated: 3/27/2014
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