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The Role of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) in Climate Change Mitigation

Peer Exchange Summary

Over the course of the peer exchange, participants presented on and discussed a variety of issues related to GHG analysis and climate change mitigation. Many of the participating MPOs are conducting GHG analysis, and a smaller number are considering GHG emissions in their project selection criteria - whether through cost-benefit analysis or other project scoring methodologies. MPOs use a range of analysis techniques to quantify emissions from transportation, usually including multiple approaches within each agency, such as using EPA's Motor Vehicle Emission Simulator (MOVES) for emissions analysis and off-model spreadsheet approaches to analyze particular reduction strategies. MPOs are very interested in identifying effective mitigation strategies and in finding ways to implement these strategies where possible. A number of metropolitan areas have found that the highest GHG emissions reductions come from technological advances and legislative activities, including fuel efficiency standards and diffusion of advanced vehicle technologies, though regional land use planning and transportation strategies also offer important GHG reduction potential, as well as other mobility, livability, and environmental co-benefits.

The peer exchange began with welcome by Diane Turchetta of FHWA and Michael Grant of ICF. Diane Turchetta provided a summary of FHWA's GHG mitigation initiatives and participants were asked to introduce themselves and mention what they hoped to discuss during the exchange. Over the course of day one, nine participants presented their MPOs' activities as they relate to climate change. Each presentation provided an overview of each MPO's context, and presentations were grouped into sessions on integration of GHG analysis in planning, incorporation of emissions reduction strategies into planning, and current efforts to reduce GHG emissions.

Day two of the peer exchange began by completing presentations from the previous day. The group discussed financing the transportation system generally and climate change mitigation strategies, particularly co-benefits of mitigation strategies, and outreach related to climate change initiatives. Finally, participants provided feedback to FHWA on what the agency might be able to provide that would be useful to them. Active participation, questions, and discussion were encouraged throughout the exchange. Themes from these discussions and from the presentations are provided in the section Findings and Conclusions. The complete agenda is provided in Appendix B.

Updated: 03/27/2014
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