Effective Environmental Policy toward Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Produced from Transportation

By Fazil Najafi, Sofia Vidalis, Kim Munksgaard and Matthew Diamond.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

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.

Keywords: Greenhouse Gases

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 4, Issue 11, pp.113-132. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.794MB).

Dr. Fazil Najafi

Professor, Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA

Dr. Najafi is a professor of Civil and Coastal Engineering at the University of Florida. He earned his BSCE from the American College of Engineering, Kabul, Afghanistan, and his BSAE, MS, and PhD degrees in Civil Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He has worked for 35 years in government, industry, and education. Besides teaching during the last 14 years, Dr. Najafi has conducted research, has been a participating member of several professional societies including ASEE, has published numerous refereed and non-refereed articles, and has presented many technical papers to international, national and local organizations.

Dr. Sofia Vidalis

Pennsylvania State Harrisburg, Middletown, PA, USA

Dr. Vidalis is an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at Penn State Capital College in Harrisburg, PA. She earned her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. from the University of Florida. She has worked with Florida Design Consultants for a couple years as a Transportation Engineer. Her current research focuses on quality assurance in pavement construction and materials, construction management, and transportation planning and operations.

Kim Munksgaard

Engineer, Development Company, Environmental Health and Safety, University of Florida, Florida, USA

Kim Diane Munksgaard received her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering Sciences from the University of Florida in December of 2007. She anticipates receiving her Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering Sciences from the University of Florida with a research thesis on stormwater in December of 2008. She is a new hire of the ExxonMobil Development Company, where she will be helping to minimize greenhouse gas emissions, among other pollutants produced from the petroleum industry on large-scale projects throughout the world.

Matthew Diamond

Graduate Student, Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA

Matthew Diamond is a graduate student in the Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences at the University of Florida. Mr. Diamond received his Bachelor’s degree from the Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences at the University of Florida in May 2008. His current focus is in Water Resources and plans on receiving his Master’s degree in May 2009. Future interests include stormwater management, wetland and ecological restoration, and water reuse and supply.

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