How Cities Can Lead the Way in Reducing Transportation Emissions

Decisions made at the local level can have a significant impact on emissions in the transportation sector.

1 minute read

May 23, 2024, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Aerial view of a line of freight trucks driving on a country highway.

Ivan / Adobe Stock

In an article in Governing, Laurie Mazur describes how some U.S. cities are successfully cutting transportation emissions and the lessons they can teach other cities.

Mazur points out the ways that local governments can impact transportation emissions. “It is municipalities, for example, that determine the location of jobs and housing, and therefore the length of commutes, through zoning laws and other land-use regulations. Longer, more-car-dependent commutes mean more climate-changing emissions.”

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy's (ACEEE) 2024 City Clean Energy Scorecard reveals that 31 of 75 cities studied have targeted emissions reduction goals. Of these, “San Francisco took the top spot in the ACEEE scorecard for transportation, winning points for its excellent transit service, bike network and numerous EV charging stations. The city’s transit agency and central school district are also working to electrify their bus fleets.”

Other top cities include Portland, Oregon, and Oakland, California, both of which have made concerted efforts to promote affordable housing production near transit.

The report highlights the tools that seem to lead to success: making plans and setting targets; zoning changes that seek to reverse sprawl and improve walkability; investment in alternative transportation options; adoption of more efficient vehicles in city fleets and city-sponsored rebates for e-bikes and electric cars; and more efficient freight systems.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024 in Governing

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