Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

The latest general information on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is available on For USDOT specific COVID-19 resources, please visit our page.

General Resources

Carbon Sequestration Pilot Program: Implementation and Next Steps (2009) (PDF 238kb)

U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration

In July 2008, the FHWA's Office of Natural and Human Environment selected the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) to participate in a carbon sequestration pilot program (CSPP). Through the CSPP, FHWA intends to explore the feasibility of state DOTs reducing and sequestering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in vegetation within highway rights-of-way (ROW). This progress report summarizes lessons useful to other Departments of Transportation and FHWA Division Offices in evaluating the viability of carbon sequestration practices in lands they control. NMDOT's insights are expected to help accomplish a similar program at a broader scale and/or assist in making well-informed decisions related to carbon sequestration in highway ROW during reauthorization of the next transportation bill.

The Challenge of Fragmented Institutions in Addressing Climate Change in the Transportation Planning and Investment Process (2009)

Plumeau, Peter E; Lawe, Stephen. Transportation Research Board

Global climate change (GCC) has emerged in recent years as the highest-profile environmental issue of the early 21st century. Transportation institutions at all levels of government face significant challenges in effectively addressing GCC, in terms of both transportation system adaptation to GCC impacts and mitigation of transportation's contribution to GCC. These challenges stem in large part from the fragmentation of decision-making within and across governmental levels, the consequent mismatch of political boundaries, and the nature of options for effectively addressing GCC. This paper discusses these challenges and proposes a conceptual framework for re-thinking our transportation institutions to more effectively address the connection of transportation and GCC.

Estimating Transportation Related Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Energy Use in New York State (2005) (PDF 251kb)

ICF International

This report discusses the findings of three relatively disparate tasks that were combined into a single project. All three tasks explored transportation-related GHG emissions and energy use in New York State, within the context of the New York State Energy Plan (NYSEP). Task 1 quantified historical and projected state-wide energy use and anthropogenic CO2 emissions and to compare the results to the goals of the NY SEP. Task 2 captured feedback from metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) on a new recommendation for MPOs to include estimates of energy use and GHG emissions in their transportation plans and to estimate historical and projected CO2 emissions and energy consumption by metropolitan region and by mode. Task 3 investigated the potential CO2 and energy impacts of a variety of policies aimed at reducing transportation CO2 emissions.

Gasoline Taxes to Address CO2 Emissions from Road Transport (2009)

Transportation Research Board

This paper reviews different policies to reduce CO2 emissions from road transport, with a special focus on gasoline taxes in the US and the UK.

Greenhouse Gas Control Strategies: A Review of "Before-and-After" Studies (1999) (PDF 132kb)

National Transportation Library

This paper summarizes the results of a literature search focused on U.S. efforts to reduce GHG emission from on-highway vehicles and public transit modes. Programs and policies reviewed include the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards program, the Gas Guzzler Tax, and regulations that require or encourage the use of alternative fuel vehicles.

Greenhouse Gas Emission Control Options: Assessing Transportation and Electricity Generation Technologies and Policies to Stabilize Climate Change (2009)

Bomberg, Matthew; Kockelman, Kara; Thompson, Melissa. Transportation Research Board 88th Annual Meeting.

Prioritization of the numerous technology and policy options is an important step in formulating a cohesive strategy to abate U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. This work compares various options across two key sectors of the U.S. economy, electricity generation and transportation, quantifying the absolute abatement potential of each and exploring barriers each might face.

Implications of Recent Greenhouse Gas Legislative Proposals on the Highway Freight Industry (2009)

White Ph.D., Karen ; Bean, J Erin.

Climate change is emerging as the global challenge for the 21st century. This paper provides a summary of: the current legislative proposals; research estimating the costs of those proposals; and discusses potential impacts for highway freight industry. This paper does not conduct original analysis but rather compiles available information on the different policy options and current proposals in Congress for the reduction of greenhouse gases, with a specific eye towards the transportation industry. For each proposal, the paper presents a general overview, comparing and contrasting the significant components. Next, the research presents any available data on cost projections, focusing on reliable sources. Finally the paper discusses potential implications for different segments of the highway freight industry.

Integrating U.S. Climate, Energy, and Transportation Policies (PDF 318kb)

RAND Corporation

This report is the result of several workshop on climate change. These workshops brought together representatives of government, industry, advocacy groups, and the research community, who hold different perspectives on what the goals of climate change mitigation policy should be and which strategies should be implemented to achieve them.

Mitigation of Climate Change - Chapter 5: Transport and its Infrastructure from the IPCC Fourth Assessment Working Group III Report (2007) (PDF 1.1mb)

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Chapter 5 of this report discusses the current impacts of different transportation on climate change and suggests several mitigation practices to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from the different transportation sectors.

Potentials and Challenges for Using the Clean Development Mechanism for Transport-Efficient Development: Case Study of Nanchang, China (2009)

Zegras, Christopher ; Chen, Yang ; Grutter, Jurg.

Transportation is a major source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions related to potential global climate change. In this paper, the authors propose a methodology, consistent with the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), to quantify the emission reduction benefits of transport efficient development (TED). The TED concept aims to reduce transportation GHGs via interventions in urban development patterns. The authors use a specific urban development project in a Chinese city, the Nanchang Transit-Oriented Development project, to demonstrate the methodological approach and, thus, the possibilities to bring urban land development projects in developing countries into the carbon market. The case study illustrates the opportunities for and challenges to realizing transportation GHG emissions reductions via the use of the CDM to alter development patterns.

Public Support for Reducing US Reliance on Fossil Fuels: Investigating Household Willingness-to-Pay for Energy Research and Development (2009)

Li, Hui and Jenkins-Smith, Hank C and Silva, Carol L and Berrens, Robert P and Herron, Kerry G., Ecological Economics, Vol. 68 No. 3

In order to reduce future dependence on foreign oil and emissions of CO2, how much would US households be willing to pay annually to support increased energy research and development (R&D) activities designed to replace fossil fuels? Does it matter whether the R&D includes nuclear energy options? This article explores these questions using data from a unique set of national telephone and Internet surveys.

Public Transportation's Role in Addressing Global Climate Change (March 2009) (PDF 173kb)

TCRP Research Results Digest No. 89, Transportation Research Board

This TCRP digest summarizes the mission performed May 9–23, 2008, under TCRP Project J-03, "International Transit Studies Program." It includes transportation information on the organizations and facilities visited. It was prepared by the Eno Transportation Foundation and is based on reports filed by the mission participants.

Public Understanding of Climate Change and the Gaps Between Knowledge, Attitudes, and Travel Behavior (2009)

Howarth, Candice; Waterson, Ben; McDonald, Michael. Transportation Research Board 88th Annual Meeting.

This paper shows that the role of information on climate change needs to change. Knowledge and concern for climate change is evident as well as an acceptance of the role individuals have in this. Providing more tailored information therefore, has significant potential in providing the type of information required and encouraging sustainable travel behavior. Attempts to increase public awareness of climatic issues now need to be re-focused on encouraging people to act voluntarily on their attitudes, values and beliefs. Behavioral change is highly supported and preferred over fiscal measures, but requires more information than is currently available.

Reducing U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions: How Much at What Cost (2007)

McKinsey and Company

This paper reports the results of the research team from McKinsey and Company to develop a detailed, consistent fact-base estimating costs and potentials of different options to reduce or prevent GHG emissions with the United States over a 25-year period after analyzing over 250 options, encompassing efficiency gains, shifts to lower-carbon energy sources, and expanded carbon sinks. Based on the research, the project team concluded that the United States could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions using tested approaches and high-potential emerging technologies.

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from U.S. Transportation (2003) (PDF 512kb)

Pew Center on Global Climate Change

This report evaluates potential CO2 emission reduction strategies including energy efficiency improvements, low-carbon alternative fuels, increasing the operating efficiency of the transportation system, and reducing travel.

Review of International Modeling Literature: Transit, Land Use, and Automobile Pricing Strategies to Reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled and Greenhouse Gas Emissions (2009)

Rodier, Caroline Jane

This paper reviews the international modeling literature on land use, transit, and auto pricing policies to suggest a range of VKT and GHG reduction that regions might achieve if such policies were implemented. The synthesis of the literature categorizes studies, by geographic area, policy strength, and model type, to provide insight into order of magnitude estimates for 10-, 20-, 30-, and 40-years time horizons. The analysis also highlights the effects of modeling tools of differing quality, policy implementation timeframes, and variations in urban form on the relative effectiveness of policy scenarios.

Taking Climate Change into Account in U.S. Transportation (PDF 361kb)

PEW Center on Global Climate Change

This study provides an introduction to different options for various industries within the transportation sector to reduce their impact on climate change.

Trade-Off Between CO2 Emissions and Logistics Costs Based on Multiobjective Optimization (2009)

Transportation Research Board

This paper develops a decision-support tool for estimating the balanced market shares of given freight transport systems operating in a given network, satisfying both the minimum costs and the Carbon-Dioxide (CO2) emission requirements. Since CO2 constraints in logistics markets need to be realized in the near future, a modal shift in freight transport could be expected to reduce the CO2 emissions within the reasonable cost/time constraints.

Transportation Program Responses to Greenhouse Gas Reduction Initiatives and Energy Reduction Programs (Project Kickoff 2008)

Transportation Research Board

This study seeks to determine the relative greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction and energy efficiency capability of transportation-related strategies that states and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) can deliver; it also seeks to develop a critical path for state transportation departments and MPOs to follow when participating in state or regional efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy efficiency improvements.

Transportation in Developing Countries: An Overview of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategies (2002) (PDF 510kb)

Pew Center on Global Climate Change

This report provides a broad characterization of transportation in developing countries, identifying common challenges and opportunities for policymakers, and suggesting policy options that aim to slow the growth of greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.

Last updated: Thursday, March 30, 2017