Forty percent of the Bay Area’s greenhouse gas emissions are produced by transportation, with exhaust from cars and trucks the biggest single source.
MTC's pioneering Climate Initiatives Program aims to reduce the transportation sector's carbon footprint and to help the region meet emissions-reduction targets set by state law.
Here are the main highlights:
- Climate Initiatives Grants — to test innovative emissions-reduction strategies, and expand the most effective approaches
- Commuter Benefits Program — to use tax incentives to encourage more commuters to carpool, vanpool or ride transit to and from work
- Electric vehicle activities — to encourage EV adoption through incentives to buy or lease, and for expanding the network of charging stations; plus public test-drive events
- Expanded car-sharing — grants to expand car-sharing in six communities around the Bay Area
- Smart Driving — pilot programs to test the impact of on-board devices and driver-education on drivers’ fuel efficiency
- Spare the Air Youth & Safe Routes to Schools — to increase the number of children walking or biking to school
- Transportation Demand Management — to use parking pricing and other strategies to reduce demand for roadway space in select locations and/or at select times
MTC in 2009 allocated $80 million to implement the Climate Initiatives Program.
Plan Bay Area directs $226 million through 2040 for investment to expand the most successful Climate Initiatives.
MTC collaborated with city and county governments as well as the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and other regional agencies to develop and refine the Climate Initiatives Program. Project sponsors receiving Climate Initiatives Program funds include:
- Alameda County Transportation Commission
- Alameda County Waste Management Authority
- Bay Area Air Quality Management District
- City CarShare
- City of Berkeley
- City of Napa
- City of Santa Rosa
- Kashia Band of Pomo Indians
- Port of Oakland
- San Francisco County Transportation Authority
- Solano Transportation Authority
- Sonoma County Transportation Authority
- Transportation Authority of Marin
A key element of the Climate Initiatives Program is an evaluation of both the impact and cost-effectiveness of the various initiatives. Based on data collection that began in 2011 and continued through 2014, the biggest reductions in greenhouse gas emissions came from three projects that also proved to be the most cost-effective:
- Cold-In-Place Pavement Recycling An demonstration program by the City of Napa and Sonoma County to recycle asphalt concrete pavement in place, eliminating the need to produce new asphalt and transport it to the work site.
- Connect Redwood City! A SamTrans-sponsored campaign to shift more trips in and around downtown Redwood City away from single-occupant cars through a combination of car sharing, bike sharing, short-distance vanpools, telework and flex-scheduling incentives, and marketing to local residents and businesses.
- Shore Power The Port of Oakland installed electric system infrastructure at two of its berths, allowing ships to shut off their auxiliary diesel engines and plug into the electrical grid while loading or unloading cargo.
Check out the complete Climate Initiatives Program evaluation here.
Funding for the Climate Initiatives Program comes primarily through the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program.
Additional support comes from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s Transportation Fund for Clean Air.