Effective environmental policy toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions produced from transportation

Fazil Najafi, Sofia Vidalis, Kim Munksgaard, Matthew Diamond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Increased public awareness of climate change and shifting political attitudes within the United States may lead to federal regulations on the emissions of greenhouse gases. The transportation sector represents 27% of the total U.S. GHG emissions, with passenger cars and light-duty trucks accounting for 17% of the total. This paper examines international, national, state, and local level policies that may reduce transportation related GHG emissions. Emission reduction targets and atmospheric concentration stabilization goals will be decided upon at the international and national levels; however, implementation of emission reduction strategies will be delegated to the state and local governments and given flexibility to choose their specific approaches. Emission reduction strategies most likely to be implemented by states and local municipalities are examined for their effectiveness. The results are intended to be used by municipal public works managers and state level administrators for making GHG reduction policy decisions. At the local level, the climate action plans of four cities with varying populations were examined to calculate the annual reduction in tons of CO2 equivalents. At the state level, the climate action plans of Arizona, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, New Mexico, and Vermont were examined for percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from transportation related initiatives. Results from GHG reduction initiatives in Miami, FL; Brookline, MA; Austin, TX; and Brattleboro, VT show that most effective local strategies are increased public transit ridership, increased bicycle use, and increased carpooling, with annual per capita reductions in CO2 of 279 lbs, 645 lbs, and 75 lbs, respectively. Effective state level policies are emission reductions for light-duty vehicles and smart growth measures with average reduction percentages of 9.2% and 7.1%, respectively. Economic cost-benefit analyses should be performed for each initiative before being implemented to ensure effective emission reduction measures are also cost effective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-131
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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