Development and Implementation of a Transportation and Climate Change Clearinghouse

Focus Area

Climate Change


Air Quality, Environmental Process






1-2 years

Research Idea Scope

TERI Database Administrator Notes:  Funded as NCHRP Project 25-25, Task 44  “Development and Implementation of a Transportation and Climate Change Clearinghouse”

Background: Greenhouse gas emissions and the related subject of global climate change is an emerging and critical issue for the transportation community. Currently, the transportation sector contributes 28 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change will have significant impacts on transportation operations and infrastructure due to increased temperatures, intensity of storms, sea level rise, and changes in precipitation. Increasing energy efficiency and the use of fossil fuel alternatives within the transportation sector are critical steps to reduce emissions and energy consumption. Currently, there is a lack of knowledge and understanding within the transportation community about the relationship between transportation and climate change, which limits the ability of transportation professionals and policy makers to make informed decisions.
Research Objectives: The development and implementation of a clearinghouse will serve as a “one-stop” source of information for the transportation community on transportation and climate change issues. The clearinghouse will also serve as a mechanism for transportation and air quality professionals at all levels of government, in private industry and non-profits to share information, exchange ideas, discuss innovative efforts at the state/local level, discuss experiences with available modeling and inventory tools, and – in general – to build expertise.   
Specific components of the Clearinghouse would include:
Ø      The main themes of the clearinghouse would focus on three primary areas including intermodal and mode-specific solutions; the impacts of climate change on the transportation infrastructure, and “best practices” in mitigation strategies from both a technological and operational perspective
Ø      About the Clearinghouse (would explain the purpose of the Clearinghouse and why DOT felt it was necessary to develop)
Ø      Climate Change Basics (would define what climate change is, provide information on the current science, and the connection between climate change and congestion, energy, and other pollutants)
Ø      Research/Publications
Ø      Latest News (both public and private/business)
Ø      Links
Ø      Upcoming Meetings/Workshops
Ø      Contacts

TERI Administrator Note (June 2007): Related Research
FHWA FY07 STEP Project: Survey and Assessment of State and Local Climate Change Activities, and Transportation and Dissemination of Research and Best Practices

In the absence of Federal regulation or guidance to address climate change, state and local governments have begun taking action on their own. States are setting targets for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, adopting policies to promote renewable energy efficiency, and developing statewide climate action plans. To date, 28 U.S. states have adopted climate action plans. This research effort would collect and evaluate measures that are being taken at state and local levels to address climate change. The effort may include convening a workshop or forum for state and local governments to record and exchange information. It may also include partnering with one or more MPOs to participate in a pilot to explore integrating climate change considerations into the transportation planning process through visioning or scenario planning, to be used as a model or “best practice” for other MPOs and State DOT’s interested in integrating climate change considerations into their long range transportation planning process. In addition, there is a need for the development of a mechanism, such as a clearinghouse, to exchange and disseminate information among federal, state and local transportation stakeholders so that it can be used to inform transportation decisions-makers on climate change issues.


Urgency and Payoff

The clearinghouse is envisioned to provide a valuable source of information and knowledge concerning the relationship between transportation and climate change to those in the transportation community. 

Currently, there is a significant gap, in terms of level of knowledge and understanding among transportation professionals on the relationship between transportation and climate change.

Suggested By