Why Transport is Generating Ever More Emissions

Oregon’s strategy to reduce emissions caused by moving around is to hope Unicorns will save us

As we set heat-record-shattering month after heat-record-shattering month, official Oregon continues to rely on vague hopes and gestures when thinking about how to reduce emissions caused by moving people and goods around, now the largest single emissions sector.

The list of “strategies” — more properly titled “vague hopes and idle fancies” — for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation demonstrate just how hard it will be to get a grip on distributed emissions from individuals, rather than point emissions from major emitters such as power plants.

The list even seems to include items more appropriate for a satirical publication such as The Onion, items such as “Increase efficiency in all airport terminal access activities, including shifting to low- and zero-emission vehicles and modes for passengers, employees and vendors” — which ignores that stopping climate catastrophe will require that mass jet travel cease entirely.

Essentially, most of these strategies are based on the dubious notion that it is even possible to reduce emissions while maintaining a system of mass auto-mobility, where it is absolutely routine for Oregonians to routinely pilot several thousands pounds of metal at highway speeds for hundreds of miles per week, simply to deliver one person to a job that, in many cases, could just as well be accomplished remotely.
 

Oregon Statewide Transportation Strategy
A 2050 Vision for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction
 
STS Strategies
 
Vehicle and Engine Technology Advancements
 
Strategy 1 – More Efficient, Lower-Emission Vehicles and Engines
 
Transition to lower emission and fuel-efficient vehicles, enhanced engine technologies, and efficient vehicle designs.
 
Fuel Technology Advancements
 
Strategy 2 – Cleaner Fuels
 
Support the development and use of cleaner fuels, including reduction of the carbon intensity of fuels.
 
Systems and Operations Performance
 
Strategy 3 – Operations and Technology
 
Enhance fuel efficiency and system investments, and reduce emissions by fully optimizing the transportation system through operations and technology.
 
Strategy 4 – Airport Terminal Access
 
Increase efficiency in all airport terminal access activities, including shifting to low- and zero-emission vehicles and modes for passengers, employees and vendors.
 
Strategy 5 – Parking Management
 
Promote better management and use of parking in urban areas to support compact, mixed-use development and use of other modes, including transit, walking and  bicycling.
 
Strategy 6 – Road System Growth
 
Design road expansions to be consistent with the objectives for reducing future GHG emissions by light duty vehicles.
 
Transportation Options
 
Strategy 7 – Transportation Demand Management
 
Support and implement technologies and programs that manage demand and make it easier for people to choose transportation options.
 
Strategy 8 – Intercity Passenger Growth and Improvements
 
Promote investment in intercity passenger public transportation infrastructure and operations to provide more transportation options that are performance and cost competitive.
 
Strategy 9 – Intracity Transit Growth and Improvements
 
Investing in public transportation infrastructure and operations to provide more transportation options and help reduce single-occupancy vehicle travel.
 
Strategy 10 – Bicycle and Pedestrian Network Growth
 
Encourage local trips, totaling twenty miles or less round-trip, to shift from single-occupant vehicle (SOV) to bicycling, walking, or other zero- emission modes.
 
Strategy 11 – Carsharing
 
Enhance the availability of carsharing (short- term self-service vehicle rental and/or peer- to-peer) programs to reduce the need for households to own multiple vehicles and to reduce household vehicle miles traveled.
 
Strategy 12 – More Efficient Freight Modes
 
For the commodities and goods where low- carbon modes are a viable option, encourage a greater proportion of goods to be shipped by rail, water, and pipeline modes.
 
Efficient Land Use
 
Strategy 13 – Compact, Mixed-Use Development
 
Promote compact, mixed-use development to reduce travel distances, facilitate use of zero- or low-energy modes (e.g., bicycling and walking) and transit, and enhance transportation options.
 
Strategy 14 – Urban Growth Boundaries
 
Create full-service healthy urban areas to accommodate most expected population growth within existing Urban Growth Boundaries (UGB) through infill and redevelopment.
 
Strategy 15 – More Efficient Industrial Land Uses
 
Encourage and incentivize more efficient use of industrial land through closer proximity of shippers and receivers, consolidated distribution centers, and better access to low-carbon freight  modes.
 
Pricing, Funding and Markets
 
Strategy 16 – Funding Sources
 
Move to a more sustainable funding source that covers the revenue needed to maintain and operate the transportation system and accounts for the true cost of travel.
 
Strategy 17 – Pay-As-You-Drive Insurance
 
Promote Pay-As-You-Drive Insurance (PAYD) programs that allow drivers to pay per-mile premiums, encouraging less driving through insurance savings.
 
Strategy 18 – Encourage a Continued Diversification of Oregon’s Economy
 
Maintain economic prosperity through an increase in the value per ton (the “value-density”) of goods produced in the state, which is projected to reduce shipping costs and GHG emissions for any given level of economic output.