Last week, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) announced it launched GreenDOT, a comprehensive environmental responsibility and sustainability initiative that will make MassDOT a national leader in “greening” the state transportation system.
GreenDOT will be driven by three primary goals: reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; promote the healthy transportation options of walking, bicycling, and public transit; and support for smart growth development.
“By making this commitment, MassDOT has declared its contribution to creating a clean energy economy for Massachusetts,” said Gov. Deval Patrick. “In the coming years, we will see the results in smarter growth, cleaner vehicles, and jobs devoted to building a lower carbon transportation system.”
GreenDOT calls for MassDOT to incorporate sustainability into all of its activities, from strategic planning to project design and construction to system operation. The initiative includes greenhouse gas reduction targets mandated under the Global Warming Solutions Act, signed by Gov. Patrick in 2008. This law requires an economy-wide 2020 emissions reduction mandate of between 10 and 25 percent by January 1, 2011, the first step toward a required 80 percent reduction by 2050. The transportation sector generates more than one-third of the total greenhouse gas emissions produced in Massachusetts.
The initiative sets a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions over 2 million tons by 2020, a reduction of about 7.3 percent below 1990 transportation sector emission levels. If left unchecked, 2020 transportation emissions would increase by 19.0 percent over 1990 levels. Instead, the GreenDOT initiative, combined with other state and federal government policies, is expected to reduce 2020 transportation emissions by almost 30 percent below this “business as usual” level.
GreenDOT will achieve the greenhouse gas reductions through a range of measures. In cooperation with regional planning agencies, MassDOT will set statewide greenhouse gas reduction targets, and meet these targets by balancing highway system expansion projects with other projects that support smart growth development and promote public transit, walking and bicycling. Examples include transit and rail projects; complete streets planning that includes bicycle and pedestrian accommodations; and investments in greener, more efficient fleet vehicles and renewable power.