Excerpt from State scoping plan to reduce GHG emissions (CA, 2017, transportation section)

Transportation Sustainability

California’s population is projected to grow to 50 million people by 2050. How and where the State grows will have important implications for all sectors of the economy, especially the transportation sector. Supporting this growth while continuing to protect the environment, developing livable and vibrant communities, and growing the economy is dependent on transitioning the State’s transportation system to one powered by ZEVs and low carbon fuels. It must also offer other attractive and convenient low carbon transportation choices, including safe walking and bicycling, as well as quality public transportation. Investments should consider California’s diverse communities and provide accessible and clean travel options to all. 

Transportation infrastructure also includes sidewalks, bicycle paths, parking, transit stations and shelters, street trees and landscaping, signage, lighting, and other elements that affect the convenience, safety, and accessibility of transportation choices. Increasingly, technologies such as real-time, web- and mobile-enabled trip planning and ride-sharing services are changing how people travel. In the near future, automated and connected vehicles, and unmanned aerial systems (e.g., drones) are expected to be part of our transportation landscape and to transform the way that people and freight are transported. Responsibility for the transportation system is spread across State, regional, and local levels. 

Through effective policy design, the State has an opportunity to guide technology transformation and influence investment decisions with a view to mitigate climate and environmental impacts while promoting economic opportunities and community health and safety. The network of transportation technology and infrastructure, in turn, shapes and is shaped by development and land use patterns that can either support or detract from a more sustainable, low carbon, multi-modal transportation future. Strategies to reduce GHG emissions from the transportation sector, therefore, must actively address not only infrastructure and technology, but also coordinated strategies to achieve development, conservation, and land use patterns that align with the State’s GHG and other policy goals.

Transportation also enables the movement of freight such as food, building materials, and other consumable products.

Transportation has a profound and varied impact on individuals and communities, including benefits such as economic growth, greater accessibility, and transport-related physical activity and adverse consequences such as GHG emissions, smog-forming and toxic air pollutants, traffic congestion, and sedentary behaviors. The sector is the largest emitter of GHG emissions in California.149 Air pollution from tailpipe emissions contributes to respiratory ailments, cardiovascular disease, and early death, with disproportionate impacts on vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly, those with existing health conditions (e.g., chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD), low-income communities, and communities of color.150,151,152,153

149 ARB. May 2016. Mobile Source Strategy. Available at: www.arb.ca.gov/planning/sip/2016sip/2016mobsrc.pdf
150 Hoek, G., Krishnan, R. M., Beelen, R., Peters, A., Ostro, B., Brunekreef, B., and Kaufman, J. D. 2013. Long-term air pollution exposure and cardio-respiratory mortality: a review. Environmental Health, 12(1), 1.
151 Friedman, M. S., K. E. Powell, L. Hutwagner, L. M. Graham, and W. G. Teague. 2001. “Impact of changes in transportation and commuting behaviors during the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta on air quality and childhood asthma.” JAMA 285(7), 897–905.
152 Bell, M. L., and K. Ebisu. 2012. “Environmental inequality in exposures to airborne particulate matter components in the United States.” Environmental Health Perspectives 120(12), 1699.
153 Morello-Frosch, R., M. Zuk, M. Jerrett, B. Shamasunder, and A. D. Kyle. 2011. “Understanding the cumulative impacts of inequalities in environmental health: implications for policy.” Health Affairs 30(5), 879–887.

Importantly, transportation costs are also a major portion of most household budgets.154 Additionally, dependence on cars has a direct impact on levels of physical activity, which is closely linked to multiple adverse health outcomes.

Fortunately, many measures that reduce transportation sector GHG emissions simultaneously present opportunities to bolster the economy, enhance public health, revitalize disadvantaged communities, strengthen resilience to disasters and changing climate, and improve Californians’ ability to conveniently access daily destinations and nature. There opportunities are particularly important for those who are not able to, or cannot afford to, drive. In addition, a growing market demand for walkable, bikeable, and transit-accessible communities presents a significant opportunity to shift the state’s transportation systems toward a lower-carbon future while realizing significant public health benefits through increased levels of physical activity (i.e., walking and bicycling). In fact, transport-related physical activity could result in reducing risks from chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, certain cancers, and more, to such an extent that it would rank among the top public health accomplishments in modern history, and help to reduce the billions of dollars state and federal governments spend each year to treat chronic diseases.

Just as California was the first to mitigate the contribution of cars and trucks to urban smog, it is leading the way toward a clean, low carbon, healthy, interconnected, and equitable transportation system.

Continuing to advance the significant progress already underway in the areas of vehicle and fuel technology is critical to the Transportation sector strategy and to reducing GHG emissions in the transportation sector. The rapid technological and behavioral changes underway with automated and connected vehicles, unmanned aerial systems, and ride-sharing services are redefining the transportation sector, and should be part of the solution for a lower carbon transportation sector.

It is critical to support and accelerate progress on transitioning to a zero carbon transportation system. The growing severity of climate impacts, persistent public health impacts and costs from air pollution,155 and rapid technology progress that supports the expectation that cost parity between some ZEVs and comparable internal combustion vehicles will be attained in a few years, underscores the need for further action on ZEVs.

This year (2017) California (CARB) solicited input on additional policies to move toward a goal of achieving 100 percent ZEV sales in the light-duty vehicle sector. Austria, Germany, India, Netherlands, and Norway are all taking steps to, or have indicated a desire to, move to 100 percent ZEV sales in the 2020–2030 time frame.
In addition, policies that maximize the integration of electrified rail and transit to improve reliability and travel times, increase active transportation such as walking and bicycling, encourage use of streets for multiple modes of transportation, improve freight efficiency and infrastructure development, and shift demand to low carbon modes will need to play a greater role as California strives to achieve its 2030 and 2050 climate targets.156

The State’s rail modernization program has identified critical elements of the rail network where improvements, either in timing of service or infrastructure, provide benefits across the entire statewide network, furthering the attractiveness of rail for a range of trip distances.157 The State also uses the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) and Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP) to provide grants from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to fund transformative improvements modernizing California’s intercity, commuter, and urban rail systems, as well as bus and ferry transit systems, to reduce emissions of GHGs by reducing congestion and VMT throughout California. As the backbone of an electrified mass-transportation network for the State, the high-speed rail system catalyzes and relies on focused, compact, and walkable development well-served by local transit to funnel riders onto the system and provide alternative options to airplanes and automobiles for interregional travel. Concentrated development, such as that incentivized by the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) grant program, can improve ridership and revenue for the system while providing vibrant communities for all.2

155 For example, a recent report by the American Lung Association estimates the costs of climate and air pollution from passenger vehicles in California to be $15 billion annually. Holmes-Gen, B. and W. Barrett. 2016. Clean Air Future – Health and Climate Benefits of Zero Emission Vehicles. American Lung Association in California, October.
156 Morello-Frosch, R., M. Zuk, M. Jerrett, B. Shamasunder, and A. D. Kyle. 2011. “Understanding the cumulative impacts of inequalities in environmental health: Implications for policy.” Health Affairs 30(5), 879–887.
157 California State Transportation Agency. 2016. 2018 California State Rail Plan factsheet and TIRCP fact sheet.

While most of the GHG reductions from the transportation sector in this Proposed Plan will come from technologies and low carbon fuels, a reduction in the growth of VMT is also needed. VMT reductions are necessary to achieve the 2030 target and must be part of any strategy evaluated in this plan. Stronger SB 375 GHG reduction targets will enable the State to make significant progress toward this goal, but alone will not provide all of the VMT growth reductions that will be needed. There is a gap between what SB 375 can provide and what is needed to meet the State’s 2030 and 2050 goals. More needs to be done to fully exploit synergies with emerging mobility solutions like ridesourcing and more effective infrastructure planning to anticipate and guide the necessary changes in travel behavior, especially among millennials. Uniquely, high-speed rail also affects air-miles traveled, diverting, at minimum, 30 percent of the intrastate air travel market in 2040.158

In September 2016, the Administration released a discussion document entitled “Vibrant Communities and Landscapes”159 that set out potential actions that can be taken in parallel to SB 375 Sustainable Community Strategies by State government, regional planning agencies, and local governments, to achieve a broad, statewide vision for more sustainable land use. The document “Potential VMT Reduction Strategies for Discussion” in Appendix C further details State-level strategies that could be employed to close the VMT gap.160 Discussions among a broad suite of stakeholders from the building community, financial institutions, housing advocates, environmental organizations, and community groups are needed to develop a set of strategies to ensure that we can achieve necessary VMT reductions, and that the associated benefits are shared by all Californians.

At the State level, a number of important policies are being developed. Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 743 (Steinberg, Chapter 386, Statutes of 2013), which called for an update to the metric of transportation impact in the CEQA. That update to the CEQA Guidelines is currently underway. Employing VMT as the metric of transportation impact statewide will help to ensure GHG reductions planned under SB 375 will be achieved through on-the-ground development, and will also play an important role in creating the additional GHG reductions needed beyond SB 375 across the State. Implementation of this change will rely, in part, on local land use decisions to reduce GHG emissions associated with the transportation sector, both at the project level, and in long-term plans (including general plans, climate action plans, specific plans, and transportation plans) and supporting sustainable community strategies developed under SB 375. The State can provide guidance and tools to assist local governments in achieving those objectives.

158 California High-Speed Rail Authority. 2016. 2016 Business Plan. Ridership and Revenue Forecast.
159 Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, et al. 2016. Vibrant Communities and Landscapes: A Vision for California in 2050. Draft for Comment and Discussion. September. Available at: www.arb.ca.gov/cc/scopingplan/meetings/091316/vibrant%20communities.pdf
160 ARB. Potential State – Level Strategies to Advance Sustainable, Equitable Communities and Reduce Vehicle Miles of Travel
(VMT) — for Discussion. www.arb.ca.gov/cc/scopingplan/meetings/091316/Potential%20VMT%20Measures%20For%20Discussion_9.13.16.pdf

1. Looking to the Future

This section outlines the high-level objectives and goals to reduce GHGs in this sector.

Vibrant Communities and Landscapes / VMT Reduction Goals

  • Update the CEQA metric of transportation impact from level of service (LOS) to VMT statewide.
  • Promote all feasible policies to reduce VMT, including:
    • Land use and community design that reduce VMT
    • Transit oriented development
    • Street design policies that prioritize transit, biking, and walking, and
    • Increasing low carbon mobility choices, including improved access to viable and affordable public transportation and active transportation opportunities.
  • Complete the construction of high-speed rail integrated with enhanced rail and transit systems throughout the State.
  • Promote transportation fuel system infrastructure for electric, fuel-cell, and other emerging clean technologies that is accessible to the public where possible.
  • Increase the number, safety, connectivity, and attractiveness of biking and walking facilities to increase use.
  • Promote potential efficiency gains from automated transportation systems and identify policy priorities to maximize sustainable outcomes, including zero emissions, VMT reduction, coordination with transit, and shared mobility.
  • Promote shared-use mobility, such as bike sharing, car sharing and ridesharing services to bridge the “first mile, last mile” gap between commuters’ transit stops and their destinations.
  • Continue research and development on transportation system infrastructure, including:
    • Integrate frameworks for lifecycle analysis of GHG emissions with life-cycle costs for pavement and large infrastructure projects, and
    • Health benefits and costs savings from shifting from driving to walking, bicycling, and transit use.
    • Quadruple the proportion of trips taken by foot by 2030.
    • Strive for a nine-fold increase in the proportion of trips taken by bicycle by 2030.
    • Strive, in passenger rail hubs, for a transit mode share of between 10 percent and 50 percent and for a walk and bike mode share of between 10 percent and 15 percent.

Vehicle Technology Goals

  • Through a strong set of complementary policies—including reliable incentives, significant infrastructure investment, broad education and outreach, and potential regulation—aim to reach 100 percent ZEV sales.
  • Make significant progress in ZEV penetrations in non-light-duty segments.
  • Deploy low-emission and electrified rail vehicles.

Clean Fuels Goals: Electrify the transportation sector, continue to explore development of hydrogen or syn-fuels from renewable energy that would otherwise be curtailed (unless battery storage becomes cheaper)

Sustainable Freight Goals

  • Increase freight system efficiency of freight operations at specific facilities and along freight corridors such that more cargo can be moved with fewer emissions.
  • Accelerate use of clean vehicle and equipment technologies and fuels of freight through targeted introduction of zero emission or near-zero emission (ZE/NZE) technologies, and continued development of renewable fuels.
  • Encourage State and federal incentive programs to continue supporting zero and near-zero pilot and demonstration projects.
  • Accelerate use of clean vehicle and equipment technologies and fuels of freight through targeted introduction of ZE/NZE technologies, and continued development of renewable fuels. This includes developing policy options that encourage ZE/NZE vehicles on primary freight corridors (e.g., I-710); examples of such policy options include a separated ZE/NZE freight lane, employing market mechanisms such as favorable road pricing for ZE/NZE vehicles, and developing fuel storage and distribution infrastructure along those corridors.

Cross-Sector Interactions

The Transportation sector has considerable influence on other sectors and industries in the State.  The state’s transportation sector is still primarily powered by petroleum, and to reduce statewide emissions, the state must reduce demand for driving; continue to reduce its gasoline and diesel fuel consumption; diversify its transportation fuel sources by increasing the adoption of low- and zero-carbon fuels; increase the ease and integration of the rail and transit networks to shift travel mode; and deploy ZE/NZE vehicles.

As the population continues to increase, the location and types of future land use development will directly impact GHG emissions from the transportation sector, as well as those associated with the conversion and development of previously undeveloped land. Specifically, where and how the State population grows will have implications on distances traveled and tailpipe emissions; as well as on “secondary” emissions from the transportation sector, including emissions from vehicle manufacturing and distribution, fuel refining and distribution, demand for new infrastructure (including roads, transit, and active transportation infrastructure), demand for maintenance and upkeep of existing infrastructure, and conversion of natural and working lands, with the attendant impacts to food security, watershed health, and ecosystems. Less dense development also demands higher energy and water use. With the exception of VMT reductions, none of these “secondary” emissions are currently accounted for in the GHG models used in this Proposed Plan, but are nonetheless important considerations. Additionally, compact, lower-VMT future development patterns are essential to achieving public health, equity, economic, and conservation goals, which are also not modeled but are important co-benefits of the overall transportation sector strategy. For example, high-speed rail station locations were identified to reinforce existing city centers.

Achieving LCFS targets and shifting from petroleum dependence toward greater reliance on low carbon fuels also has the potential to affect land use in multiple ways. For example, increased demand for conventional biofuels could require greater use of land and water for purpose-grown crops, which includes interactions with the agricultural and natural and working lands sectors. On the other hand, continuing growth in fuels from waste biomass such as by-processing residues and agricultural waste and excess forest biomass acts to alleviate the pressure on croplands to meet the need for food, feed, and fuel. Likewise, captured methane from landfills or dairy farms for use in vehicles requires close interaction with the waste and farming sectors. Also, as more electric vehicles and charging stations are deployed, drivers’ charging behavior will affect the extent to which additional electric generation capacity and ancillary services are needed to maintain a reliable grid and accommodate a portfolio of 50 percent renewable electricity by 2030. Charging control and optimization technologies will determine how well integrated the electric and transportation sectors can become, including, for instance, the widespread use of electric vehicles as storage for excess renewable generation, vehicle to grid, smart charging, and/or smart grid. The GHG emissions intensity of electricity affects the GHG savings of fuel switching from petroleum-based fuels to electricity; the cleaner the electric grid, the greater the benefits of switching to electricity as a fuel.

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles can help expand renewable energy production, but hydrogen can require additional electric generation capacity to accommodate the energy demand associated with hydrogen production and may require more fuel storage and pipeline infrastructure.

3. Efforts to Reduce Greenhouse Gases

The measures below include some required and new potential measures to help achieve the State’s 2030 target and to support the high-level objectives for the transportation sector. Some measures may be designed to directly address GHG reductions, while others may result in GHG reductions as a co-benefit.

Ongoing and Proposed Measures – Vibrant Communities and Landscapes / VMT Reduction Goals

  • Mobile Source Strategy –15 percent reduction in total light-duty VMT in 2050 (with measures to achieve this goal not specified; potential measures identified in Appendix C).
  • Work with regions to update SB 375 Sustainable Communities Strategies targets for 2035 to better align with the 2030 GHG target and take advantage of State rail investments.
  • Stabilize transportation funding so investments are available to develop sustainable and well-maintained multi-modal transportation networks in California.
  • SB 743 – complete the update to the CEQA metric of transportation impact such that it promotes GHG reduction, the development of multimodal transportation networks, and a diversity of land uses.
  • Streamline CEQA compliance and other barriers to infill development.
  • Complete the pilot road usage charge program pursuant to SB 1077 and evaluate deployment of a statewide program.
  • Continue promoting active transportation pursuant to SB 99 – The Active Transportation Program and beyond.
  • Continue to build high-speed rail and broader statewide rail modernization pursuant to the funding program in SB 862 and other sources.
  • Encourage use of streets for multiple modes of transportation (including public transit and active transportation, such as walking and bicycling), and for all users, including the elderly, young, and less able bodied, pursuant to AB 1358 – Complete Streets policies. 
  • Support and assist local and regional governments, through grant programs and technical assistance, to develop and implement plans that are consistent with the goals in “Vibrant Communities and Landscapes,” including the following:
    • AB 2722 – Implement Transformative Climate Communities Program, ensuring promotion of GHG reductions from neighborhood-level community plans in disadvantaged communities.
    • AB 2087 – Help local and State agencies apply core investment principles when planning conservation or mitigation projects.
    • High speed rail station area plans.
    • Implementation of updated General Plan Guidelines.
  • Per SB 350, conduct and publish a study on barriers to accessing ZE/NZE transportation options for low-income customers and recommendations on how to increase access.

Ongoing and Proposed Measures – Vehicle Technology

  • Implement the Cleaner Technology and Fuels Scenario of CARB’s Mobile Source Strategy, which includes:
    • 4.3 million zero emission and plug-in hybrid light-duty electric vehicles by 2030
    • Phase 1 and 2 GHG regulations for medium- and heavy-duty trucks
      • An Advanced Clean Cars program, and
      • Advanced Clean Transit.
  • Periodically assess and promote cleaner fleet standards.
  • Deploy ZEVs across all vehicle classes, including rail vehicles.
  • Encourage State and federal incentive programs to continue supporting zero and near-zero pilot and demonstration projects.
  • Collaborate with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to promulgate more stringent locomotives requirements, work with California seaports, ocean carriers, and other stakeholders to develop the criteria to incentivize introduction of Super-Low Emission Efficient Ships, and investigate potential energy efficiency improvements for transport refrigeration units and insulated truck and trailer cargo vans.
  • Promote research, development, and deployment of new technology to reduce GHGs, criteria pollutants, and toxics.

Ongoing and Proposed Measures – Clean Fuels

  • Continue LCFS activities, with increasing stringency of at least 18 percent reduction in carbon intensity (CI).
  • Continue to develop and commercialize clean transportation fuels through renewable energy integration goals, tax incentives, research investments, support for project demonstration, public outreach, and State procurement contracts.
  • Per SB 1383 and the Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Strategy, adopt regulations to reduce and recover methane from landfills, wastewater treatment facilities, and manure at dairies; use the methane as a renewable source of natural gas (RNG) to fuel vehicles and generate electricity; and establish infrastructure development and procurement policies to deliver RNG to the market.
  • Accelerate deployment of alternative fueling infrastructure pursuant to the following:
    • SB 350 – CPUC to accelerate widespread transportation electrification.
    • Executive Order B-16-2012 and 2016 ZEV Action Plan – call for infrastructure to support 1 million ZEVs by 2020.
    • CEC’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP).
    • CPUC’s NRG settlement.
    • CalGreen Code provisions mandate installation of PEV charging infrastructure in new residential and commercial buildings.161
    • IOU electric vehicle charging infrastructure pilot programs.

Ongoing and Proposed Measures – Sustainable Freight – Implement the California Sustainable Freight Action Plan:

  • 25 percent improvement of freight system efficiency by 2030.
  • Deployment of over 100,000 freight vehicles and equipment capable of zero emission operation, and maximize near-zero emission freight vehicles and equipment powered by renewable energy by 2030.

Sector Measures

  • Adopt a post-2020 Cap-and-Trade Program.
  • The actions below have the potential to reduce GHGs and complement the measures and policies identified in Chapter ll. These are included to spur thinking and exploration of innovation that may help the State achieve its long-term climate goals.
  • Develop a set of complementary policies to make light-duty ZEVs clear market winners, with a goal of reaching 100 percent light-duty ZEV sales. This could include the following:
    • Reliable purchase/trade-in incentives for at least 10 years.
    • Dealer incentives for ZEV sales.
    • Policies to ensure operating cost savings for ZEVs relative to internal combustion engines, including low cost, and potentially free, electricity.
    • Significant investments in charging and ZEV refueling infrastructure.
    • A broad and effective marketing and outreach campaign.
    • Collaborations with cities to develop complementary incentive and use policies for ZEVs.
    • Targeted policies to support ZEV sales and use in low income and disadvantaged communities.
    • Develop a Low Emission Diesel Standard to diversify the fuel pool by incentivizing increased production of low-emission diesel fuels. This standard would require incremental progress toward a goal of low-emission diesel comprising 50 percent of the on-and off-road diesel sold in-state by 2030.
  • Stabilize transportation funding so investments are available to develop sustainable and well-maintained multi-modal transportation networks in California.
  • Continue to develop and explore pathways to implement State-level VMT reduction strategies, such as those outlined in the document “Potential State-Level Strategies to Advance Sustainable, Equitable Communities and Reduce Vehicle Miles of Travel (VMT) for Discussion”162 (included in Appendix C) through a transparent and inclusive interagency policy development process to evaluate and identify implementation pathways for additional policies to reduce VMT and promote sustainable communities, with a focus on the following:
    162 This refers to the document discussed at the September 2016 Public Workshop on the Transportation Sector to Inform Development of the 2030 Target Scoping Plan Update, also available at: www.arb.ca.gov/cc/scopingplan/meetings/091316/Potential%20VMT%20Measures%20For%20Discussion_9.13.16.pdf.

    • Accelerating equitable and affordable transit-oriented and infill development through new and enhanced financing and policy incentives and mechanisms.
    • Promoting stronger boundaries to suburban growth through enhanced support for sprawl containment mechanisms, including urban growth boundaries and transfer of development rights programs.
    • Identifying performance criteria for transportation and other infrastructure investments, to ensure alignment with GHG reduction goals and other State policy priorities, and improve proximity, expanded access to transit, shared mobility, and active transportation choices.
    • Promoting efficient development patterns that maximize protection of natural and working lands.
    • Developing pricing mechanisms such as road user/VMT-based pricing, congestion pricing, and parking pricing strategies.
    • Reducing congestion and related GHG emissions through commute trip reduction strategies.
    • Programs to maximize the use of alternatives to single-occupant vehicles, including bicycling, walking, transit use, and shared mobility options.
    • Take into account the current and future impacts of climate change when planning, designing, building, operating, maintaining, and investing in State infrastructure.