In the U.S., transportation is responsible for about one-third of the nation’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The largest single contributor to the problem—responsible for more than half of these emissions—is surface transportation, such as cars, trucks, and buses, in the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs).
MSAs that want to take steps to reduce GHG emissions, however, are challenged by insufficient funding and jurisdictional and policy barriers, often due to fragmented local leadership from rail, bus, highway, and port agencies. But unless they mitigate the impact of surface transportation on GHG emissions, they’ll continue to be outsized carbon contributors.
To meet the scientific community’s goal of 80 percent emission reductions by 2050—and to avoid the most serious impacts of climate change—innovative thinking is needed in the surface transportation sector.