Promoting Eco-Driving to Reduce GHG Emissions

Focus Area

Climate Change


Air Quality, Environmental Process







Research Idea Scope

Per the Moving Cooler report, “eco-driving strategies can achieve cumulative greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions by changing the efficiency of individual driving behavior, if widely embraced and practiced.” The Moving Cooler report indicates cumulative GHG reductions between 1.1 and 2.7 percent from the baseline through 2050 are possible. The preliminary findings from the International Transport Forum indicate that “reducing CO2 emissions through the promotion of smoother driving styles can reduce emissions by up to 15%, though the impact of these measures decrease over time without additional training.”
Eco driving programs are underway in Belgium, United Kingdom, Spain, Norway, and Iceland through voluntary training programs. The website identifies the following “best practices for green driving”:

  • Believe You Can Reduce Fuel Use and Emissions
  • Avoid Rapid Starts and Stops
  • Keep on Rolling in Traffic (Maintaining a constant speed)
  • Ride the “Green Wave” (Synchronized traffic lights)
  • Maintain an Optimum Highway Speed for Good Mileage
  • Use Cruise Control
  • Navigate to Reduce Carbon Dioxide
  • Avoid Idling
  • Buy an Automated Pass for Toll Roads
  • Use the Highest Gear Possible
  • Drive Your Vehicle to Warm It Up
  • Obey Your Check Engine Light

In light of the various social, economic, and transportation network differences between Europe and the United States, how can the eco-driving experience in Europe be successfully translated and implemented in the United States?
This project would:

  • Analyze the training methods and effectiveness of eco-driving in other countries.
  • Identify and recommend best practices and approaches to promote eco-driving in the United States, including training measures, processes and guides. Identify, as may be appropriate, different practices and approaches for various types of drivers (e.g., individuals driving their own vehicles, professional drivers and fleet and transit vehicles, and individuals driving rental or other fleet vehicles).
  • Address how transportation systems management and operational strategies
    and the supporting ITS technologies can be deployed and operated to
    promote eco-driving (e.g., synchronized traffic signals, speed
    management and harmonization via Active Traffic Management, navigation
    via traveler information and “green” routing, Intellidrive and other
    in-vehicle devices, and intelligent speed adaptation).
  • Address how to promote eco-driving beyond “climate change”
    considerations (e.g., saving fuel and money, reducing traffic

A second part of this effort would involve the definition and set up a pilot program to quantify the benefits and effectiveness of the recommended eco-driving training and related practices.
Related Work

  • Moving Cooler – An Analysis of Transportation Strategies for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Urban Land Institute, 2009
  • “Energy and Emissions Impacts of a Freeway-Based Dynamic Eco-Driving System”, Matthew Barth and Kanok Boriboonsomsin
  • “Reducing Transport GHG Emissions – Opportunities and Costs”, International Transport Forum
  • Information available at various eco-driving web sites (e.g.,;

The results of this effort could result in a very cost-effective approach for reducing GHG emissions from mobile transportation services. It could also prove useful in promoting selected transportation systems management and operational strategies in support of eco-driving, which in turn would be incorporated into transportation greenhouse gas reduction plans and prioritized lists of projects to support plan (as required by proposed federal legislation).
·      $125,000 (not including the pilot program)
·      $300,000 (pilot program)

Urgency and Payoff

This research would promote greater understanding of eco-driving and the best ways to promote this concept in the United States, including driver education and training, and the deployment of transportation systems management and operational strategies and supporting ITS technologies in support of eco-driving. 

Suggested By

RNS. Sponsoring Committee: A0020T, Special Task Force on Climate Change and Energy Source Info: Special Task Force on Climate Change and Energy January 2010 Workshop