AVOIDING CLEAN CONGESTION:
Green tech isn’t enough — we need to drive less.

By Steve Winkelman March 27, 2019

“Clean congestion” is what we’ll get if we rely only on vehicle technology to meet climate change goals. Even with a massive shift to clean vehicle technologies, we will still need to reduce driving to meet greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction goals. Climate protection requires a paradigm shift to Travel-Efficient Development.

Click below to watch the Avoiding Clean Congestion video presentation (9.5 minutes). (Note that this is based on US information. Please contact me if you think such a presentation would be useful for your country, state, province or city.)

The Avoiding Clean Congestion video presentation answers the following questions:

  • How have transportation GHGs increased since 1990, and why?

  • Where are we headed?

  • How would a major shift to clean vehicle technologies impact GHGs in 2040?

    • What impact would Automated Vehicles have?

  • How can we meet climate change goals and avoid clean congestion?

    • What reductions in driving (VMT) are necessary?           

    • What policies can help?

Technology is essential − but not sufficient − to achieving needed greenhouse gas reductions. We need good land use planning and urban design to create walkable, transit-oriented communities. And those communities will be more accessible, equitable, prosperous and resilient.

In the beginning………………………………………………………………………………………..……………………….……………..…………. businesses as usual forecast

In the beginning………………………………………………………………………………………..……………………….……………..…………. businesses as usual forecast

with massive uptake of green technologies……………………………………………………………….…..…….…………..…If we try hard to reduce driving

with massive uptake of green technologies……………………………………………………………….…..…….…………..…If we try hard to reduce driving

automation could dramatically increase driving

automation could dramatically increase driving

The Avoiding Clean Congestion video presentation video provides the following conclusions and recommendations:

  • Reducing driving by just 4 miles per day per household would enable us to meet our GHG goals and avoid clean congestion (6% < 2017 levels, 23% < 2040 levels)

  • Electric vehicles improve air quality, making walking and cycling more pleasant, more practical and healthier.

  • Travel-efficient communities increase accessibility, quality of life, resilience, prosperity and equity

  • We can avoid clean congestion through a variety of federal, state and local policies:

    • Ask the Climate Question:  Does public infrastructure spending advance low-carbon, resilient communities?

    • Set GHG reduction targets for states and MPOs

    • Prioritize and invest in low-carbon transportation modes

    • Measure the right things: GHG and VMT per capita, access

    • Integrate land use, transportation, housing and climate policies

    • Provide Incentives and targets to reduce VMT/capita

    • Price parking, congestion/VMT and un-pooled rides

prioritize low-carbon travel modes over single-occupancy vehicles and zero-occupancy (zombie) vehicles (Images from the Noun Project — see  reference document )

prioritize low-carbon travel modes over single-occupancy vehicles and zero-occupancy (zombie) vehicles
(Images from the Noun Project — see reference document)

Summary video (2:20 min):

Click here for more information: image sources, data sources and assumptions underlying the calculations in the video.