The Environmental Impact of Transportation

October 12, 2010 at 12:00 am 2 comments

Transportation is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the state. Transportation is projected to account for 47% of the state greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory in 2020 – and that’s not all coming from semi-trucks and trailers. Light duty vehicles like those we drive everyday (cars, pick-up trucks, sport utility vehicles, and vans) are estimated to make up half of those emissions, according to one source at the Department of Ecology.  Supportive transportation policies are in place to reduce emissions through an emphasis on transportation demand management, and more recently, the use of clean fuels and hybrid vehicles.

Environmental impacts associated with transportation are particularly acute as related to GHG production, and water pollution (hydrocarbons and heavy metal deposits in surface water and receiving waters). Awareness of this problem has already led to efforts across the state to minimize and reduce impacts. For example, vegetation management practices along highways to reduce herbicide use, structural features such as infiltration ponds and wide grass swales, and regular maintenance to clear highways of sand, litter and debris all help to control and manage the harmful effects of stormwater runoff.

WTP 2030 includes the following proposed strategies to help mitigate environmental impacts:

  • Improve integration of transportation and land use planning with the goal of reducing vehicle miles traveled and GHG
  • Couple land use policy, siting decisions, demand management and transportation needs to leverage the value of existing infrastructure investments and future transportation investments
  • Support efforts for efficient and effective environmental permitting processes while still protecting the environment
  • Reduce stormwater impacts on Puget Sound and other state waterways consistent with the Clean Water Act
  • Develop strategies responding to both mitigation and adaptation consistent with the Governor’s Climate Action Team findings

What’s missing? What is being done in your community to help reduce environmental impacts related to transportation? What are you personally doing? What more should be done?

In addition to leaving comments on this blog, we encourage you to use the online public input tool to tell us about the transportation issues and priorities that are important to you.

You can also read the WTP plan and related documents online.

Entry filed under: Environmental Quality & Health, Uncategorized. Tags: .

The Two-Mile Trip: How to support a healthy community An Adaptive Environment for Alternative Transportation

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. SherlyUJest  |  October 12, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    My next vehicle purchase will have a V-8 engine.
    I plan on buying 2 more vehicles, so my wife and mother-in-law can both drive solo instead of me driving them around.

  • 2. Doug M  |  October 14, 2010 at 5:05 pm


    Thanks for getting those v-8 cars. They will milk you of whatever little cash you have left while helping to fund our state via sales tax …and our transportation system via fuel taxes. By trying to be crass, you are actually helping in a way.

    I sure hope your also gamble via the WA St. lottery, get drunk on our highly taxed alcohol, and smoke lots of non-tribal cigarettes (25 feet away from public buildings of course).

    If you really want to be a thorn in our side, ride your bike to the nearest bus stop and catch a subsidized ride to the ferry for another taxpayer boondoggle and when you land, transfer to the subsidized light rail on your way to pick up your unemployment check. Bonus, you won’t need to pay any taxes to use or carry your bike on any system. So stick it to the man and show us how smart you are.

    My kids won’t let me call people name …like moron so I’ll just call you …Mo.

    Mo, might I suggest that you purchase your bike at REI? I hear great things about their Novara brand.


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Welcome to the WTP Blog 2030

The Washington Transportation Plan (WTP 2030) is issued by the State Transportation Commission and serves as the state’s comprehensive and balanced transportation plan. The WTP establishes a 20-year vision for the development of the statewide transportation system, from state highways and ferries to sidewalks and bike paths, county roads, city streets, public transit, air and rail. The Washington State Transportation Commission (WSTC) provides a public forum for transportation policy development and has specifically established this blog to engage the general public and all other key stakeholders in a dialogue about statewide transportation priorities. The Commission encourages the sharing and discussing of information about the content and development of the WTP 2030. This is not a WSDOT blog; no comments on specific projects or traffic will be posted.



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