Archive | October, 2008

Cutting Carbs

Via the OTRAN list:

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Cutting Carbs: A workshop for transportation professionals looking to cut some greenhouse gas emissions

December 3, 2008
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Mark your calendars! On Wednesday, December 3rd, the Oregon Environmental Council (OEC) will host a workshop for transportation professionals. The goal: to build knowledge and skills for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transportation system.

Who should attend? Planners, engineers and project managers who have a day-to-day impact on transportation plans and projects around Oregon. We welcome consultants and clients alike and encourage teams! The workshop will focus on information and skills that you can use to boost your organization’s resources and improve Oregon’s environment.

What will you learn? How climate change and transportation legislation in Salem, Olympia and Washington, D.C. could impact your work. What tools you can use to measure or estimate GHGs from transportation projects. Which strategies can make the most cost-effective dent in GHGs. We’ll explore the leading edge in these areas, hear from the innovators, and work on how you can make a difference.

If you would like to be on OEC’s mailing list for this event, please send an email to Chris Hagerbaumer at chrish@oeconline.org. Look for more information in October.

Brought to you by: CH2M Hill, David Evans & Associates, HDR, Metro, ODOT, Port of Portland, Portland Office of Sustainable Development, TriMet, and URS.

Chris Hagerbaumer| Deputy Director
Oregon Environmental Council

Where’s the Cap-and-Trade?

via the OTRAN list…

Governor Kulongoski has released his climate change agenda for the 2009 legislative session. A major omission noted by many is the absence of a cap-and-trade carbon trading system as contemplated by the Western Climate Initiative.

Here’s the transportation section:

Sustainable Transportation

The Governor recognizes the dual need to both invest in transportation while also advancing options that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That’s why the Governor’s climate change and transportation packages must be complementary, addressing the state’s growing transportation needs while also takings actions to reduce carbon. The Governor’s package will put forward several sustainable transportation measures that focus on reducing vehicle miles traveled, expanding transportation options, and encouraging new vehicle technologies.

Encouraging Alternative Vehicle Technologies: The Governor’s transportation initiative will encourage the use of alternative technologies like plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles. The state will shift its business and residential energy tax credits from widely used hybrid vehicles to new vehicles that produce less carbon. As vehicle manufacturers introduce new technologies, the state will pursue public and private partnerships to ensure Oregon is the place to implement new vehicle technologies, such as charging stations for electric vehicles.

Adopting Low Carbon Fuels: This will authorize the Environmental Quality Commission to develop a low-carbon fuel standard similar to standards in Washington and California. This standard will require fuel providers to reduce the average carbon intensity of fuels sold by 10% over time. A low-carbon fuel standard will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also provide companies with flexibility to meet the standard through innovation and new technology.

Expanding Transportation Options: The Governor is committed to setting an overarching vehicle miles traveled (VMT) reduction goal for the state. Reducing discretionary trips in single occupancy vehicles will be a high priority, particularly in urban areas where more transportation choices exist. This will include an expanded Transportation Options program to help provide relief from high fuel prices and enhance community livability through expanded pedestrian and bicycle programs, increased numbers of carpools and vanpools, a statewide rideshare program, education and marketing, and incentive programs designed to reduce cars on our roadways.

Developing a Least Carbon Model: This legislation directs the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to develop a least carbon planning model – similar to what utility companies currently use – that will be applied when solving transportation problems. This modeling directs ODOT to consider the least carbon option, such as increased investments in rail or transit, in order to relieve congestion, rather than just building additional capacity.

I’m curious what a Least Carbon Model analysis would say about the Columbia River Crossing…

Next major iPhone software update to feature support for transit and walking directions.

From AppleInisider:

When set in Directions mode, Maps now offers three icons — car, public transit, and walking — centered at the top of screen, in between the “Edit” and “Start” buttons. Selecting the transit icon provides a list of transit choices that can include subways, buses, or a combination of the two.

A list of departure times and estimated commute times accompany each transit option. Once you select a particular method of transit, the Maps application will serve up step-by-step directions from your current location, usually directing you to your chosen departure subway or bus stop on foot. During commutes, Maps will specify when you should board or disembark from a bus or train.

Read the full article for screen shots and more information.

My comments: Although each local transit agency (and transit-supportive local web sites) may offer tools more directly tailored to a locale, this effort by Google and Apple will provide a valuable tool for frequent travelers with a consistent interface, and the additional visibility this provides, just from a PR perspective, may prod more transit agencies to provide real-time and schedule data to service providers like Google.

CRC Oversight: New and Improved

The new 10-member “project sponsors council” for the Columbia River Crossing will hold its first meeting on November 4th at 3pm at WashDOT in Vancouver (details in the Trib).

Will this new group lead us to better results than the 30+ member stakeholder committee did? With David Bragdon now subbed in for Rex Burkholder, will some of the conditions Metro and the City of Portland put on their LPA approvals receive attention?