An energy-efficient transportation system requires accessible, affordable, and low-energy-intensity travel options for all users.
While vehicle electrification is often seen as the primary way to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, creating a broader low-carbon transportation system will be equally important to reducing GHGs and localized pollution in the long term, creating livable communities, and ensuring that our transportation system serves everyone.
For both passenger and freight movement, the American transportation system has evolved by leaps and bounds in just the last 10 years. The advent of mobile computing, a growing awareness of the benefits of nonmotorized transportation, and the urgent need to ensure that transportation adequately serves historically marginalized communities have led to the proliferation of tech-enabled efficiency solutions in the freight sector and the deployment of several alternatives to solo driving.
Yet even as these emerging modes and solutions garner broad appeal, vehicle miles traveled nationwide are projected to increase in the foreseeable future, threatening to overwhelm our already overburdened road network while impeding reductions in total transportation energy use and emissions. Low-carbon transportation systems will require coordinating transportation, land use, and housing planning to create compact, sustainable communities and provide residents with an array of efficient, low-carbon transportation options. Additionally, passenger and freight mobility solutions must be deployed in a way that is equitable and consistent with meeting energy and greenhouse gas goals.
ACEEE promotes measures to increase transportation system efficiency and create low-carbon transportation systems. We analyze the potential energy savings of different strategies aimed at reducing the need to drive, and track federal, state, and local progress on transportation efficiency policies. We also develop tools to assess energy savings from transportation measures.