What is Integrating GHG Assessment and Reduction Targets in Transportation Planning?

By incorporating greenhouse gas (GHG) analysis into transportation planning and decision-making, agencies can act now to help decrease future emissions in order to reduce their climate impact and meet national reduction goals. Transportation is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the United States-as well as one of the fastest-growing sources. The transportation sector generates approximately 29 percent of the Nation’s GHG emissions, and roadway vehicles account for about 83 percent of that amount.

Tools and Practices for Effective Decision-Making

State departments of transportation (DOTs) and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) play essential roles in implementing policies, programs, and projects that can reduce GHG emissions, not only directly from motor vehicles, but also life-cycle emissions from construction and embodied carbon of materials. Integrating the consideration of GHG emissions into agency procedures and decision-making can lead to better transportation program and project decisions.

DOTs and MPOs can address GHGs in the planning process based on vetted, state-of-the-practice approaches that include specific analytic tools, methods, and frameworks to support target setting and GHG estimation that can be integrated with existing planning products, including statewide and metropolitan transportation plans and transportation improvement programs. They can also support planning for programs such as the newly established National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program and Carbon Reduction Program.


Adaptable Strategies. Currently available tools and best practices related to GHG analysis and target setting will allow all agencies, regardless of technical capacity or size, to take steps toward integrating the consideration of GHG emissions into existing planning structures.

Practical Mitigation. Comprehensive methods of addressing GHG emissions, from both tailpipe and life-cycle emissions, can be integrated into current planning products and programs to provide decision-makers with reliable information that can be used to mitigate GHG emissions throughout a project’s life cycle.

Measurable Progress. By considering GHG emissions at every step in the transportation planning and decision-making process, agencies can align GHG reduction goals with strategies to meet targets and make progress.

Learn more about this EDC-7 Innovation.

Integrating GHG Assessment and Reduction Targets in New Jersey Transportation Planning

Stage of Innovation:
(April 2023)

Currently, transportation accounts for 42 percent of GHG emissions in New Jersey and 29 percent of GHG emissions nationally. The NJ STIC intends to reduce GHG emissions in the transportation sector from their current levels. NJDOT and its partners have many years of experience in analyzing the air quality benefit of projects and programs through the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program, and expect to leverage this experience to the demonstration stage in developing the capability to analyze GHG reduction benefits. Work on the Carbon Reduction Strategy will assist NJDOT and its partners.

What's Next?

NJDOT is working on several initiatives, including the development of a Carbon Reduction Strategy.  NJDOT intends to support eligible projects and programs while also considering cost effectiveness in this strategy. This initiative may also provide analytical support to the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program. NJDOT may also consider the use of drone technology for bridge inspection and traffic congestion analysis. Both applications have the potential to reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.

The state’s regional MPOs partners have identified several goals for this innovation round. First, they want to have a better idea of the scale of carbon reduction benefits and use this information in modeling and for decision-making. In order to have better strategies, they need to be able to do carbon analysis like other established emission reduction analyses.

The second goal is to reduce VMT and improve vehicle performance through electrification and sustainable energy.

Third, they recommended that GHG reduction policy be pursued holistically, including planning, target setting, and funding to educate, deliver programs, and assess outcomes, as well as through funding to prioritize programs.


Rising to the Challenge: How State DOTs are Innovating to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Rising to the Challenge: How State DOTs are Innovating to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Each year transportation accounts for 29% of total GHG in the US. State DOTs are leading the way to meet emissions reduction goals through innovation. ...