Urban Goods Movement and Local Climate Action Plans: Assessing Strategies to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Urban Freight Transportation

Monday, April 29, 2019 - 17:30

This report examines how freight transport/goods movement has been addressed in U.S. city climate action planning. Transportation generally is a major contributor of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and freight transport represents a growing component of transportation’s share. Almost all climate action plans (CAPs) address transportation generally, but we wished to focus on efforts to reduce GHG emissions from freight transport specifically. We analyzed 27 advanced local CAPs to determine the degree to which freight transport was targeted in goals and strategies to reduce GHG emissions. We found only six CAPs that included direct measures or programs to reduce freight emissions. Many of the CAPs mentioned general transportation objectives such as lowering vehicle miles traveled or reducing emissions from city-owned vehicle fleets, but most did not include strategies or actions that explicitly targeted freight transport. We identified the specific strategies and actions that cities are taking to address GHG emissions from freight transport, such as working with the freight community to promote anti-idling and encourage transitions to electric and alternative fuel delivery vehicles. We also analyzed freight transport plans relevant for the same cities, and found that most do not explicitly mention reducing GHG emissions. Most of the freight plans are focused on improving reliability and efficiency of freight movement, which would likely have the ancillary benefit of reducing GHG emissions, but that goal was not explicitly targeted in most of these plans. Based on our findings, we recommend that cities specifically target freight transport goals and strategies in their CAPs and better coordinate with planners developing freight transport plans to identify GHG emission reduction approaches. The full report is online at http://transweb.sjsu.edu/sites/default/files/1796_Goetz_Alexander_Urban-Goods-Movement-Greenhouse-Gas-Emissions.pdf