Transportation is now the biggest source of global warming pollution in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic — and across the region, the transportation system, including roads, highways and public transit routes, is outdated and inefficient, according to a new study.
A new push for cleaner vehicles and fuels can reduce pollution from transportation by 35% by 2030 and deliver a broad range of benefits to communities across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region. That’s the finding of a new analysis from Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and the consulting firm M.J. Bradley & Associates. States have an opportunity to make a difference by improving efficiency, increasing access to electric vehicles and bringing more low-carbon fuels to the market.
The new analysis shows that with smart policies, states can accelerate the deployment of advanced technologies to build the cleaner transportation system we need for the future. That includes making cars, trucks and buses more fuel-efficient; speeding up the deployment of electric vehicles of all sizes, and the infrastructure to support them; and making more low-carbon fuels available to power vehicles. These policies need to be developed through an open public process so that a broad range of communities can work together to build a modern transportation system.
These steps won’t just help Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states cut pollution — they’ll come with real benefits to consumers and communities. According to the new research, these policies can:
- Reduce consumer spending on gasoline and diesel fuel by more than $125 billion by 2030 and more than $1 trillion by 2050.
- Cut global warming emissions, relative to 1990 levels, by 37% in 2030 and 78% in 2050.
- Reduce air pollution and its damaging health impacts, saving more than $3 billion in cumulative health costs by 2030 and $30 billion by 2050.
Along with investments in cleaner vehicles and fuels, states must ensure that:
- The transportation system of the future provides access and opportunity to everyone — including low-income communities, people of color, older people and those with disabilities, and rural dwellers.
- A modern transportation system won’t be sustainable unless it’s designed with input from communities and with an intentional focus on equity.
- These investments should go hand-in-hand with public transit, walking and biking infrastructure, and affordable housing to make sure everyone can get where they need to go.
The fact sheet is part of a larger study, including in-depth state-by-state analysis of the positive impacts of clean transportation policies.