The transportation sector is now the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. and produces countless harmful pollutants that contaminate air and water. SSTI works with transportation agencies to minimize those impacts, partly through their own day-to-day operations but also by supporting movement toward cleaner transportation options more broadly.
Improving Policy and Practice
Transportation agencies can begin reducing their environmental impacts by improving the efficiency of their buildings, fleets and construction methods. Many also own land and facilities where green infrastructure like natural drainage systems and solar panels can be installed. Finally, agencies can support an overall reduction in transportation impacts by investing in infrastructure for walking, biking, transit and electric vehicles, and by embracing transportation demand management.
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Hawaii’s ambitious climate goals call for major reductions in transportation emissions, which cannot easily be achieved through electrification alone. SSTI’s technical guide for Transcending Oil, developed with Smart Growth America, lays out a replicable, data-driven approach to reducing vehicle travel through transportation investments, land use policies, and financial incentives.
SmartTRAC in Hawaii
To better align transportation investments in Hawaii with the state’s ambitious climate goals, which require a considerable shift toward walking and biking, SSTI and Smart Growth America helped the Hawaii DOT pilot the Smart Transportation Rank Choice (SmartTRAC) program. This involved assessing the mode shift potential of bike and pedestrian projects using accessibility analysis.
Solar Installations in Rights of Way
For several years, SSTI convened state DOT sustainability directors, many of whom were interested in renewable energy production installations on their facilities, including in highway rights-of-way. Some participating DOTs had already installed solar electric plants, but others were concerned about federal rules regarding Interstate rights-of-way. SSTI worked with FHWA to expedite a publication that assured DOTs they could permit such installations.