Methods for State DOTs to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the Transportation

Focus Area

Climate Change


Air Quality, Environmental Process






2-3 years

Research Idea Scope

A number of states have established goals for reducing GHG emissions from the transportation sector but many suggested changes are outside the jurisdiction of State DOTs (efficiency standards, land-use, etc.).  The research would identify specific efforts to reduce transportation sector GHG emissions that are within State DOT control and provide methods for estimating the potential costs and benefits of those efforts.  The effort would extend beyond enterprise efforts related to state fleets and buildings and could include strategic approaches to EV infrastructure and travel demand management or other efforts that are, or could be, directly influenced by actions at a state DOT.

Potential Order of Work/Deliverables: 
State of the Practice – Evaluation of current state DOT efforts to reduce system GHG emissions.
State of the Practice– Evaluation of recent efforts to quantify GHG emissions from the transportation sector; including national and state-level analysis.
Comparison – tools to reduce GHG from transportation compared to state DOTs authority (supplemented by survey of state DOTs?)
Identification of challenges to state DOTs for reducing GHG emissions from transportation sector and examples/case studies to outline potential solutions.
Dynamic tool that captures the work from this project and can be updated by state DOT staff in the future to capture changes in technology, addition of case studies, etc.  Examples include a website, spreadsheet tool, or database.

Urgency and Payoff

Many states have GHG reduction goals with targets starting in 2025 that they are NOT on track to achieve.  Additionally, NEPA is expected to require GHG emissions reporting in the future and many states lack the tools to quantify and reduce GHG emissions from their projects and system.  The research product from this work would provide state DOTs will the tools they need to evaluate the political and administrative feasibility of adopting new GHG reduction tools/efforts by their agencies.

Suggested By

Tim Sexton Minnesota State DOT 651-366-3622

[email protected]