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Summary Report: Peer Workshop on Integrating Climate Change into the Transportation Planning Process

Climate Change: A Work In Progress

Elizabeth Robbins
Manager, Transportation Planning Office

Climate Change Peer Exchange
Seattle, Washington

October 27, 2008

Washington State Department of Transportation logo


Presentation Overview


What is Climate Change?

The Impacts of Climate Change will Not be Fun

Source: Washington State Dept. of Ecology


What are the primary greenhouse gases?


Transportation accounts for 47% of greenhouse gases in Washington

U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Transportation accounts for 47% of greenhouse gases in Washington: Two pie charts compare the percent of greenhouse gas emission of the U.S. and Washington State. Agriculture is about the same (U.S. is 8% while Washington is 6%). Residential, commercial, and industrial fuel use is identical at 20%. Washington (at 4%) has a smaller contribution of GHG from the industrial sector compared to the U.S. (at 8%) but about the same percentage for emission caused from waste (U.S. is 3% and Washington is 2%). The greatest difference between the U.S. and Washington State is the difference between transportation and electricity. Because of Hydro and other sources of low-carbon electricity use, Washington has 20% of its GHG emissions from electricity use while the U.S. has 34% from electricity. Because the electric sector contribution is lower in Washington, the contribution from the transportation sector is much high that the U.S.—47% compared to the national average of 28%.

Washington. Greenhouse Gas Emissions

See previous image.


Western Climate Action Initiative.(WCI)

  • Governors of Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, and New Mexico formed the Initiative to develop regional strategies addressing climate change in February 2007
  • Montana, Utah, including the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec have since joined as partners
  • 6 US states, 6 Mexican states and 1 Canadian province are official observers
Western Climate Action Initiative (WCAI): Slide depicts a map of North America with WCAI partners and observers highlighted. Partner states/provinces, highlighted in blue, include: Vancouver, Washington, Oregon, California, Quebec, Ontario, Montana, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. Observer states, highlighted in yellow, include Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Alaska, Kansas, Saskatchewan, and northwest Mexico. Blue: Partner. Gold: Observer.

Governor's Climate Change Challenge

Executive Order 07-02 (2007)


Climate Advisory Team (CAT)


Legislative highlights

Target reduction of Washington's greenhouse gas emissions to:

State's baseline = 94.6 million metric tons CO2 equivalent

State's baseline = 75 billion total VMT


Climate Action Team to deliver

By December 1, 2008


Transportation Implementation Work Group


SEPA Implementation Work Group


WSDOT's approach to Climate Change

WSDOT is addressing Climate Change through effective, measurable, and balanced emission reduction strategies:

  1. Measurable, based in science
  2. Balanced approach, looking at a range of strategies.
  3. Strategic, identifying and applying different strategies based on region and access, not one size fits all

WSDOT Business Directions

Moving Washington

Our three-part strategy to address congestionImage shows Washington State DOT report cover. The title of the report is “Business Directions: WSDOT's 2009-2015 Strategic Plan.”

Improving the performance of our state's transportation corridors by:

Moving Washington

Adding Capacity Strategically

Adding new capacity to our currently over-stressed transportation system is a critical component of Moving Washington.

Moving Washington

Operating Roadways Efficiently

Recognizing that we cannot build our way out of congestion, Moving Washington seeks to get better performance out of the system we have.

Moving Washington

Managing Demand

Providing more travel choices and options for people and freight helps improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our transportation system.


Moving Washington: Adding Capacity Strategically. Operating Roadways Efficiently. Managing Demand.

Adding Capacity Strategically

Moving Washington builds on current efforts and adds the next critical parts of the solution:

  • Completing critical bridges
  • Completing corridor gaps
  • Reducing bottlenecks
Six photos of transportation infrastructure that represent “adding capacity strategically” include the Columbia River Crossing, 520 Bridge Replacement, and I-5 Everett HOV. . Photo of I-5 Everett HOV from an overpass Photo of a crane and bridge under construction US 395 North Spokane
Photo: aerial view of 520 bridge replacement I-405 Kirkland
US 12 Walla Walla Columbia River Crossing

Moving Washington: Adding Capacity Strategically. Operating Roadways Efficiently. Managing Demand.

Operating Efficiently

Improves the performance of our system

Moving Washington builds on current efforts and adds the next critical parts of the solution:

  • Real-time traveler information
  • Active traffic management
  • Incident Response Teams
  • Traffic signal re-timing
  • Express toll lanes
  • Advanced technologies
Six photos represent the “operating efficiently” strategy, including and ITS travel time sign, express lanes, a traffic management center, and new traffic lights that were re-signaled.

Moving Washington: Adding Capacity Strategically. Operating Roadways Efficiently. Managing Demand.

Managing Demand Moving

Washington provides more people with more choices

Moving Washington builds on current efforts and adds the next critical parts of the solution:

  • Commute Trip Reduction
  • Vanpool Investment Program
  • Growth and Transportation Efficiency Centers
  • Trip Reduction Performance Program
  • Regional Mobility Grants
  • Construction traffic management
Six photos represent the “managing demand” strategy. These photos include an image of two people on bicycles riding in a designated bike lane, a rider entering a van that has a sign on the side saying “vanpool,” and a transit bus.

Adaptation to Climate Change


Adaptation Issues


Future Issues and Challenges


Questions or comments?

Elizabeth Robbins
Transportation Planning Office Manager
robbins@wsdot.wa.gov, (360) 705-7371

Katy Taylor.Public
Transportation Division Director
. taylork@wsdot.wa.gov, (360) 705-7920.

Anne Criss.
Climate Change Program Lead
crissa@wsdot.wa.gov, (360) 705-7909

Updated: 03/27/2014
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