Study: D.C. Region Must Take Aggressive Steps To Reach Climate Goal

To achieve its stated emissions reduction goal, the Greater Washington area must sharply reduce driving and speed up the adoption of electric vehicles.

December 21, 2021, 6:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

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Orhan Cam / Shutterstock

A Climate Change Mitigation Study from the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) reveals that to reduce emissions by 50 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, the D.C. region must shift travel modes to cut driving by 20 percent and boost EV sales to half or more of new vehicles, reports Bill Pugh.

Unless every single driver switched to an electric vehicle immediately—according to the article, "a hypothetical impossibility"—reducing automobile dependence by making communities more walkable and boosting public transit is the only way to effectively reduce air pollution and meet regional climate goals.

The study was undertaken after the TPB's initial climate plan received criticism for not setting specific driving reduction goals. According to the study, the region must implement "a comprehensive approach of transit-oriented and walkable land use for new development, meeting the region’s adopted goals to build more housing near transit and make it affordable, improving transit travel times and access to stations, reducing transit fares, pricing parking in job centers, and assuming a continued high level of telework." Additional strategies include road pricing and fare-free transit. Pugh notes that the study poses some important questions for future policy as the TPB develops its 2045 long-range transportation plan next year.

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