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Transportation & Climate Change

Over a quarter of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions come from the transportation sector. With this in mind, investments in sustainable infrastructure must include a strong focus on transportation. By taking a robust approach to transportation, cities can go a long way towards reducing their GHG emissions and meeting reduction goals. In addition to helping meet climate goals, when done right, sound transportation policy can help make your city more equitable by addressing  accessibility through strategies like reducing gaps in service, improving first and last miles, and expanding biking infrastructure for racially and economically diverse communities. 


What approaches are cities taking?

  • Electrifying municipal fleets
  • Bus Rapid Transit
  • Investment in expansion of public transportation services
  • Improving public transportation accessibility
  • First and last mile investments
  • Reducing car use through land use
  • Affordable transit-oriented housing
  • Electric vehicle charging infrastructure
  • Bike Share and other multi-modal investments

Read our Resources and Examples pages for ways that cities are operationalizing these approaches.

Transit and Climate Adaptation=Transit and Equity, Diane Jones Allen, Meeting of the Minds, December 4th, 2018. Read more.

Cities, obsessed with electric cars, overlook simple solutions at climate summit, Alissa Walker, Curbed, September 18th, 2018. Read more.

How states and municipalities can encourage autonomous vehicles to be shared and electric, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, September 3rd, 2018. Read more.

Vehicles are now America’s biggest CO2 sources but EPA is tearing up regulations, Oliver Milman, The Guardian, January 1st, 2018. Read more.

Implementing Accessible Low Carbon Transit, Urban Sustainability Directors Network, Urban Sustainability Innovation Report, January 1st, 2018. Read more.

C40 Cities work together to invest in clean buses, C40 Cities, May 11th, 2017. Read more.

Bus Rapid Transit, C40 Cities, February 1st, 2016. Read more.

Finding Climate Justice in the Fight for Transit Equity, Johnathon Ostar, Climate Solutions, February 25th, 2015. Read more.

Spotlight on the C40 Transportation Initiative Opportunity & Action in C40 Cities, C40 Cities, August 14th, 2013. Read more.

Seattle is tackling transportation equity and sustainability through a multitude of initiatives detailed in their New Mobility Playbook, Seattle, WA. This approach includes tackling the difficult task of increasing rider share on their public buses and, like many other cities, electrifying their city vehicle fleet.


Like Seattle, Minneapolis, MN, is electrifying their fleet, but they aren’t stopping there. Through their Climate Action Plan, they are working to create safer and more accessible streets through ambitious goals of doubling regional transit ridership, building walkable and bike friendly neighborhoods, focusing development along transit corridors, closing gaps in their transit network, and more.


Oakland, CA is similarly focused on t transportation policy andland use, taking an aggressive approach through Sustainable Oakland. Housing developments and parking structures need to have robust electric charging stations, car sharing programs, housing infill along transit condors, bike share, and affordable transit-oriented housing. Take a look at Sustainable Oakland or their Energy and Climate Action Plan to learn more.


Matthew Braunginn

There are many benefits to a robust transportation policy addressing a cities GHG emissions. To learn more, take a look at the Winter 2019 Meeting panels and briefing book materials.