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Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)

Air Quality and Sustainability Highlights

July 2009

Prepared by the Office of Planning, Environment and Realty Federal Highway Administration

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Recent Events

Secretary LaHood Testifies Before Senate. On July 14, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood testified to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works about transportation's role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Secretary outlined several initiatives that DOT is undertaking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including implementing more stringent fuel economy standards, improving operational efficiency of the transportation system, and addressing VMT growth by encouraging development of livable communities. A webcast recording of the hearing, along with submitted written testimony from all presenters, is available at:

Moving Cooler Report Released. This new Urban Land Institute (ULI) publication, prepared by Cambridge Systematics, Inc. based in Cambridge, Mass., explores incremental reductions in U.S. carbon emissions that could occur within the transportation sector as a result of a wide variety of transportation- and land use-related actions and strategies to minimize auto use, including more compact development. The full publication is available for purchase on ULI's website in either electronic (pdf) or hardcopy formats at

AASHTO Releases "Real Transportation Solutions" Website and Report. AASHTO has released a new website and report focused on strategies to reduce transportation greenhouse gas emissions. AASHTO calls for limiting growth in VMT to 1% per year, increasing vehicle fuel efficiency, shifting to low- or no- carbon dioxide emitting fuels, and improving efficiency and operations of roadways. See:

28th Edition of the Transportation Energy Data Book Released. The U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Lab has released a new edition of its annual compendium of information on transportation energy use. Two new tables have been added to the greenhouse gases chapter this year. A new table on transportation greenhouse gases by mode in 1990 and 2007, based on EPA's Inventory report, indicates that CO2 emissions from light duty on-road vehicles increased 20.8% between 1990 and 2007. CO2 emissions from medium and heavy duty trucks and buses rose 77.8% in the same period. Another new table, also based on EPA data, reports the CO2 emissions from a gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel. For more information, including a pdf of the report, downloadable spreadsheets, and a link to request a free hard copy, see:

UK Low Carbon Transition Plan Released. The United Kingdom has released its plan to achieve a 34 percent reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 levels by 2020. Some of the transportation strategies include: calling for the government to purchase vehicles that meet 2015 emissions standards in 2011, investing in low carbon bus technology, providing help to reduce the price of low carbon vehicles, supporting the installation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, sourcing 10% of transportation energy from sustainable renewable sources by 2020, providing funding in a competition for a "Sustainable Travel City," funding bicycle programs, and funding rail and bus transportation. The complete plan is available here:

RFF Report Released on Adapting Public Infrastructure to Climate Change. Resources for the Future has released a report that assesses climate change threats and the needs it imposes on public sector infrastructure, reviews infrastructure's capacity for adaptation, and provides policy options for improving infrastructure's adaptive capacity. The report is available here:

State and Local News

CA Sea Level Rise Final Report Released. This study, funded in part by CalTrans, the Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission, and others, analyzes population, property, and infrastructure at risk from future sea level rise along the California coast. It estimates that with 1.5 meters of sea level rise, about 3,500 miles of highways and roadways along the California coast and San Francisco Bay would be at risk from a 100 year flood, compared to about 1,900 miles of roadways and highways currently at risk. The full report is available here:

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FHWA HQ Contacts:

Office of Planning, Environment & Realty

Office of Natural and Human Environment, Sustainable Transport & Climate Change Team
Rob Ritter, Team Leader,
David Carlson,
John Davies,
Connie Hill Galloway,
Robert Kafalenos,
Becky Lupes,
Diane Turchetta,

Office of Planning,

Office of Project Development & Environmental Review,
Shari Schaftlein,

Updated: 10/20/2015
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