Categories
GHG Reduction Local Government NewsFlash Research Transportation Funding US DOT

UC Davis Seeks Partnerships with Local Governments on HUD/DOT Grants

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Local Climate Policy for Transportation

The UC Davis Urban Land Use and Transportation Center (ULTRANS) aims to support the design and implementation of new land use and vehicle demand policies through research, education, and public outreach. The Center’s results-oriented research illuminates the relationship between land use, transportation, and the environment. Models and methods developed at ULTRANS will support the development of policies that encourage sustainable cities and regions.

Greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector can be addressed in three basic ways: reducing the carbon content of fuels, improving vehicle fuel economy, and changing individual travel and vehicle choices to be more climate-friendly. Local and regional climate policies focus on the third category of emission reduction strategies – encouraging behavioral change. In California, most local and regional governments are currently experimenting with programs to reduce the carbon footprint of their communities, in response to state policy established in Senate Bill 375 in 2008. However, rigorous evaluation of program effectiveness remains uncommon. This project aims to help change this situation.

Program evaluation studies are commonplace in many fields of applied research, especially when behavioral change is the program goal. These studies are designed to systematically evaluate the effectiveness of policies and programs in achieving measurable goals. Often, program evaluation studies are done during a pilot or demonstration phase of the program so that the research results can be used to fine tune the program before it is expanded to apply to a larger population.

ULTRANS aims to conduct pilot evaluations of the effect of programs in each of the above categories on greenhouse gas emissions. Researchers will then use these program evaluation experiences to develop standard methodologies that practitioners across the nation can use to evaluate the performance of their own programs. To accomplish this, ULTRANS is looking to partner with local governments that are currently implementing programs in each of the following categories.

The universe of local climate policies that address transport sector emissions can be divided into six categories:

  1. Encouraging “smart growth” land use to bring origins and destinations closer to each other, e.g. infill projects, strip mall redevelopment projects;
  2. Restricting parking through fees and/or supply changes, e.g. downtown parking meters, satellite parking facilities;
  3. Encouraging alternative modes (including carpools) by making them cheaper, safer, faster, and more convenient, e.g. real-time information at bus stops, bicycle boulevards;
  4. Restricting driving through pricing and/or supply changes, e.g. reduced speed limits, selected road “diets”;
  5. Implementing “soft measures” that utilize social norms and peer pressure to achieve behavior change; and
  6. Encouraging the use of lower carbon technologies, both fuel efficient vehicles and low-carbon fuels, e.g. targeted rebates, preferential parking.

Please contact the Urban Land Use and Transportation Center via email if you are interested in collaborating on this initiative:

Deborah Salon, Research Economist – ddsalon@ucdavis.edu

Susan Handy, Professor – slhandy@ucdavis.edu [out of office until July 19]

Categories
Federal Policy GHG Reduction Local Government Metropolitan Planning NewsFlash Transportation Funding US DOT US HUD

$748 Million in Federal Grants Available for Sustainable Communities

The Federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities integrates efforts across US DOT, EPA and HUD — including the release of a Notice of Funding Availability for cities, counties, MPOs, and transportation agencies to apply for sustainable community planning grants emphasizing performance outcomes from integrated land use and transportation plans.  Grant proposals are due on July 26 and August 23 and applicant registration must be submitted by July 16.

Read more and view the Federal Grant Flow Chart and Matrix at the links below:

Policy in Motion is offering a “Sustainable Community Grant Navigation” package to assist local governments in optimizing successful grant submissions for both the five federal grant opportunities totaling $748 million, and the California Proposition 84 grant awards totaling $22 million this cycle.

Consultancy services for the Navigation package include:

  1. overview of how federal and California policy direction ties into the scoring criteria for federal and California planning grants, and
  2. custom consultation for applicant on which grants to pursue and how to prepare grant materials through strategic planning submissions.

For more information contact Lauren Michele at lauren.michele@policyinmotion.com.  Lauren Michele is also an editor for Fehr and Peers’ climate change blog, CoolConnections.org, and recently posted an article detailing four federal grant opportunities for sustainable communities planning.

    Categories
    California Policy GHG Reduction Metropolitan Planning NewsFlash SB 375

    CA Air Resources Board Releases Draft SB 375 GHG Targets for MPOs

    ARB staff has released its draft regional greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for automobiles and light trucks pursuant to Senate Bill 375.

    Full report can be found here.

    The table below is a Policy in Motion synthesis of both MPOs’ and ARB’s proposed GHG reduction targets presented over the past month.  More synthesis available at the “California MPOs Reveal Results of SB 375 Soul-Searching” post linked here.

    Categories
    GHG Reduction Local Government NewsFlash Transportation Funding

    HUD Announces $100 Million Available Under New Sustainable Regional Planning Grant Program

    HUD No. 10-133
    Andrea Mead
    (202) 708-0685
    FOR RELEASE
    Thursday
    June 24, 2010

    HUD SECRETARY DONOVAN ANNOUNCES $100 MILLION IN GRANTS AVAILABLE AS PART OF NEW SUSTAINABLE REGIONAL PLANNING GRANT PROGRAM

    Announcement comes during speech to The Atlantic’s Future of the City Forum


    WASHINGTON – During a keynote address to The Atlantic’s inaugural Future of the City Forum in Washington, D.C., U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan today announced that HUD is launching a $100 million Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant program, the first of its kind designed to create stronger, more sustainable communities by connecting housing to jobs, fostering local innovation and building a clean energy economy.

    The Regional Planning grants will be awarded competitively to multi-jurisdictional and multi-sector partnerships as well as regional consortia consisting of state and local governments, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), educational institutions, non-profit organizations and philanthropic organizations. The funding was approved by Congress for the first time in HUD’s 2010 budget, as part of a $200 million fund for the agency’s new Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities. To read the full text of HUD’s funding announcement, visit HUD’s Sustainability website.

    “At HUD, and across the Administration, we believe that the “future of the city” is tied to the future of the region-the cities, suburbs and rural areas that surround them, and that America’s ability to compete and create jobs in the 21st century depends on our metro regions,” said Donovan. “That is why I am proud to say we are taking another big step forward in the Obama Administration’s efforts to encourage more sustainable development as I announce $100 million for our new Sustainable Regional Planning Grant program for regions to integrate economic development, land use, and transportation investments.”

    “The Sustainable Communities Partnership is one part of President Obama’s broader urban and metropolitan agenda, which aims to break down traditional silos and ensure that federal programs and policies across all agencies better respond to the unique needs of specific communities,” said Melody Barnes, President Obama’s Domestic Policy Adviser. “The Administration’s efforts aim to develop urban and metropolitan areas that are economically competitive, environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive.”

    The funding being announced today will support regional planning efforts that integrate housing, land use, economic and workforce development, transportation, and infrastructure investments in a manner that empowers jurisdictions to consider the interdependent challenges of economic competitiveness and revitalization; social equity, inclusion, and access to opportunity; energy use and climate change; as well as public health and environmental impacts. The program places a priority on partnerships, including nontraditional partnerships including arts and culture, philanthropy, and bringing new voices to the regional planning process.

    The program will support a number of activities related to the development and implementation of integrated long-range regional plans including, but not limited to:

    • identifying affordable housing, transportation investment, water infrastructure, economic development, land use planning, environmental conservation, energy system, open space, and other infrastructure priorities for the region;
    • establishing performance goals and measures;
    • providing detailed plans, policies, and implementation strategies to be implemented by all participating jurisdictions over time to meet planning goals;
    • engaging residents and stakeholders substantively and meaningfully in the development of the shared vision and its implementation.

    The program builds on the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, an innovative interagency collaboration, launched by President Obama in June 2009, between the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide more sustainable housing and transportation choices for families and lay the foundation for a 21st century economy. Guided by six Livability Principles, the Partnership is designed to remove the traditional silos that exist between federal departments and strategically target the agencies’ transportation, land use, environmental, housing and community development resources to provide communities the resources they need to build more livable, sustainable communities.

    Recognizing that areas are in different stages of achieving sustainability, HUD established two funding categories for the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant program. Category 1 Funds can be used to support the preparation of Regional Plans for Sustainable Development. Category 2 Funds can be used to support efforts to fine-tune existing regional plans so that they address the Partnership’s Livability Principles, to prepare more detailed execution plans for an adopted Regional Plan for Sustainable Development, and limited predevelopment planning activities for catalytic projects. Of the funds available, $2 million will be reserved for capacity support grants distributed separately, and not less than $25 million will be awarded to regions with populations of less than 500,000.

    Ultimately, this regional planning initiative will provide a blueprint for public and private investment decisions that will support a more sustainable future for a region. The size of grants awarded will be determined by the size of the applicants geographic area, whether a large metropolitan region or a smaller rural community. Grant applications, which will be reviewed not only by HUD, but also by the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency, are due August 23, 2010.

    To demonstrate HUD’s commitment to listening and learning, HUD issued an advance Notice of Funding Availability in February 2010, which was posted on the Federal Register for 21 days for public comment and feedback. Many of the comments received through that process where integrated into the final Notice.

    In addition, Secretary Donovan and HUD are committed to providing the highest level of transparency possible as the Office of Sustainable Communities works to streamline federal investments. HUD’s new sustainability website will allow tax payers to see where funds are being spent and hold federal leaders accountable, and for local partners to access valuable information and resources.

    ###

    HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.

    Categories
    California Policy GHG Reduction Metropolitan Planning NewsFlash Public Transit Publications SB 375

    State of California Releases “Vision California” Report, Puts Price on CA’s SB 375

    The State of California Strategic Growth Council is releasing the results today of “Vision California,” a study funded in part by the California High-Speed Rail Authority to project the costs and benefits of the growth and transportation decisions that are being made under two scenarios: Business-As-Usual and Growing Smart.  The report does a good job putting a dollar value on land use choices and summarizing the potential effects of policy changes. “Vision California: Charting Our Future,” assesses the economic, energy, health, and land impacts on a population expected to reach 60 million by 2050.

    The report finds a per household savings of $6,400/year from automobile and utility costs.  The “Growing Smarter” scenario yields a per household VMT reduction for a 2050 horizon year of 26%  from a 2005 baseline and 30% from the “Business as Usual” scenario.  These results seem consistent with a major “meta-analysis” conducted by the University of Utah’s Metropolitan Research Center’s, which found a range of 20 to 40 percent VMT/capita reduction from compact development based on existing literature ranges.

    For a copy of the full report, visit: http://www.visioncalifornia.org/reports.php.

    Categories
    California Policy GHG Reduction Metropolitan Planning SB 375

    “California MPOs Reveal Results of SB375 Soul-Searching” by Jerry Walters, Fehr & Peers

    Policy in Motion Note:

    Lauren Michele is also an editor for Fehr and Peers’ climate change blog, CoolConnections.org, and recently contributed to an article written by Jerry Walters on the SB 375 greenhouse gas target setting process which is currently underway at the California Air Resources Board.  Jerry Walters is the Fehr & Peers Chief Technical Officer and leader of the firm’s Cool Connections initiative on transportation strategies for sustainable climate, energy and health — he has also served as a member of the SB 375 Regional Targets Advisory Committee (RTAC).  The following posting is from CoolConnections and can be found by clicking here.  Observations by RTAC member Jerry Walters, along with his opinions on unresolved issues appear here.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    In May, California’s Metropolitan Planning Organizations revealed their self-assessments of their ability to curb climate change.  MPOs representing over 90% of the state’s population went on record with estimates of their “ambitious and achievable” 25-year reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

    The announcements followed more than seven months of public outreach and stakeholder discussions, scenario testing and modeling representing the “bottom up process” within the regions to assess their GHG reduction potential.  The process was prescribed by the State’s SB375 Regional Targets Advisory Committee (RTAC) in its September 2009 report California Air Resources Board. The resulting MPO reports will inform the Board’s deliberations on regional GHG targets required under the California’s landmark SB375 climate legislation.

    MPOs representing the state’s four major regions Los Angeles (SCAG), San Francisco (MTC), San Diego (SANDAG) and Sacramento (SACOG) submitted a unified report, though the proposed land use and transportation strategies varied from region to region (as shown in the following table), as did each regions’ estimated performance levels.  The MPOs and Regional Transportation Planning Agencies representing Fresno, Kern, Kings, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito, Butte, and Shasta counties also presented target-setting proposals.

    Based on information provided for the May 25 RTAC meeting, the MPO land use and transportation scenarios identified as “ambitious but achievable” would reduce GHG per capita in 2020 to between 5% and 11% below 2005 levels.  Each MPO estimated that its region could double those reductions by 2020 through much more aggressive land use, demand management and transportation investment strategies that they deemed very ambitious, but not necessarily achievable.

    Ambitious Enough?

    The reported scenarios and performance levels provoked a full day’s public comment and discussion by the RTAC.  Observations by RTAC member Jerry Walters, along with his opinions on unresolved issues appear here. Questions include whether the MPO scenarios and GHG reductions are ambitious enough, including:

    • whether assumptions on land use respond to anticipated growth in market demand for compact growth
    • whether roadway pricing assumptions were ambitious enough, given the above-mentioned modest escalation in fuel prices projected over the next 25 years
    • the reasons for worsening jobs/housing balances in several regions
    • differences in the estimated effectiveness of travel demand management (TDM)
    • the lack of information on vehicle miles traveled in the MPO reports
    • the fact that the achievable 2020 reduction percentages for the three largest MPOs were actually higher than projected reductions in 2035

    Questions Remain

    In addition to the specific questions on the MPO scenario analysis above, several substantial issues remain for ARB to address in its deliberations in the coming months:

    • whether ARB should set a uniform statewide target, as suggested in the September 2009 RTAC findings, or allow that regional variations, matching the individual target proposals submitted last week
    • whether to set target ranges, rather than specific targets, that might allow the MPOs to perform within the ranges between “ambitious” and “achievable” as defined by each MPO
    • the extent to which MPOs and others might perform technical reasonableness checks on the MPO modeling analysis , using information on typical effectiveness of land use and TDM strategies that the University of California has been preparing for ARB
    • how to translate the final SB375 GHG reduction targets  into update goals in the AB 32 Scoping Plan which predicted that the land use and associated changes in transportation emphasis could deliver a 4% reduction in GHG (or 5 million metric tons) relative to 2020 trend-line conditions

    ARB workshops and Board hearings on the targets begin on June 24 and through July. For more information, visit:  http://arb.ca.gov/cc/sb375/meetings/meetings.htm

    Categories
    Federal Policy GHG Reduction Local Government Transportation Funding

    EPA to Provide $10 million for Communities to Combat Climate Change

    Release date: 06/08/2010

    Contact Information: Dave Ryan (News Media Only) Ryan.dave@epa.gov 202-564-7827 202-564-4355

    WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making available up to $10 million in grants to local governments to establish and carry out initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Under the Climate Showcase Communities program, EPA expects to award approximately 25 cooperative agreements ranging from $100,000 to $500,000, with approximately five percent of the funds ($500,000) being made available specifically for tribal governments.

    Local governments, federally recognized Indian tribal governments, and inter-tribal consortia are eligible for grants to create sustainable community actions that can be used elsewhere, generate cost-effective greenhouse gas reductions and improve the environmental, economic, public health, and social conditions in a community. A 50 percent cost share is required for recipients, with the exception of tribal governments and intertribal consortia, which are exempt from matching requirements under this grant.

    The grant program is administered by EPA’s Local Climate and Energy Program, an initiative to assist local and tribal governments to identify, implement, and track policies and programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions within their operations and surrounding communities. Over the course of the grant program, EPA will offer training and technical support to grant recipients, and share lessons learned with communities across the nation. This is the second round of funding for the Climate Showcase Communities program. Last year, EPA selected 25 projects to receive $10 million in grants.

    Proposals are due by July 26, 2010, at 4:00 p.m. EDT. Grants are expected to be awarded in February 2011.

    More information on the grants: http://www.epa.gov/statelocalclimate/local/showcase

    Categories
    Federal Policy GHG Reduction Metropolitan Planning

    American Power Act Will Create Clean Transportation Options

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    THURSDAY, JUNE 10, 2010

    AMERICAN POWER ACT WILL CREATE CLEAN TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS

    Senator Carper, Business Leaders, Transportation Advocates Praise New Investments for Clean Transportation Options in Kerry-Lieberman Proposal

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Thomas Carper (D-DE) joined business leaders and Transportation for America, the largest, most diverse coalition working on transportation reform, to support key provisions of the Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act (APA) that creates a new funding stream for investments in clean transportation options that will create jobs and reduce our dangerous dependence on oil.

    “If we want to get serious about reducing our dependence on oil and cleaning the air we breathe, we have to find ways to allow people to get out of our cars,” said Senator Thomas Carper (D-DE). “We have to provide clean transportation alternatives.  I practice what I preach by taking the train from my home in Wilmington, Delaware to work in Washington, D.C. almost every day but for too many Americans mass transit isn’t a viable option.  We have to change that dynamic.  That’s why I am pleased Senators Kerry and Lieberman have included my CLEAN TEA legislation in the American Power Act. This robust investment puts us on the right path to reduce transportation emissions and oil consumption and improve our nation’s crumbling transportation infrastructure.  These investments will make us healthier, less dependent on oil, and spur job creation and innovation.”

    The proposal from Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT), offers the most substantial support for the transportation sector of any climate and energy legislation to date.  Roughly 70 percent of oil consumed in the U.S. and one third of climate-harming emissions come from the transportation sector.  The APA invests revenues generated from oil refineries in building new clean transportation options and maintaining our existing transportation system.

    “America’s oil addiction is a threat to our national security, our economy and our environment,” said James Corless, director of Transportation forAmerica. “The status-quo is unsustainable.  The transportation provisions in the American Power Act will create jobs, spur growth of small businesses and American industry and make it easier and more affordable for Americans to get around.  We strongly support these provisions and believe they should be funded at a higher level to ensure they achieve the greatest possible impact.”

    The BP disaster is a devastating reminder that every gallon of oil saved not only benefits the planet, but also s bolsters national security and the economy. The transportation provisions of the bill would provide states and local communities with resources needed to reduce this dependency by providing consumers with safe, clean and affordable options for public transportation, walking and bicycling, as well as better-managed, less congested highways.

    “Broward County and thousands of local governments across the country have been embracing the types of transportation strategies included in the American Power Act as a way to improve our economy, increase transportation choices, and create healthier, more sustainable communities, said Kristin Jacobs, County Commissioner, Broward County Florida. “The biggest challenge in implementing our plans, of course, is funding, which is why we’re pleased to see significant resources available through this legislation for states and local communities.”

    “These provisions in the American Power Act will support innovations to keep America competitive, create jobs, encourage entrepreneurship and small businesses, and strengthen our economy, in part by expanding the use of ITS technologies to improve transportation system efficiency.  While we applaud the provisions, we believe that all revenues raised from the transportation sector should be reinvested into our nation’s transportation system to create a more financially and environmentally sustainable transportation future.”

    CONTACT:

    COSABETH BULLOCK, 202-478-6128

    CBULLOCK@MRSS.COM

    PAULA CHRIN DIBLEY, 202-478-6138

    PCHRIN@MRSS.COM

    ###

    TRANSPORTATION FOR AMERICA (T4) is the largest, most diverse coalition working on transportation reform today.  Our nation’s transportation network is based on a policy that has not been significantly updated since the 1950’s.  We believe it is time for a bold new vision — transportation that guarantees our freedom to move however we choose and leads to a stronger economy, greater energy security, cleaner environment, and healthier America for all of us.  We’re calling for more responsible investment of our federal tax dollars to create a safer, cleaner, smarter transportation system that works for everyone.  www.t4america.org

    Categories
    Education/Webinars Federal Policy GHG Reduction

    Webinar: US DOT Report to Congress on GHG Reduction

    “Transportation’s Role in Reducing U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions”

    Date:  Wednesday, June 16, 2010

    Time:  1:00 – 2:30 PM

    Registration opening soon at www.climate.dot.gov.

    You are invited to participate in a webinar on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s new report to Congress, “Transportation’s Role in Reducing U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions.”  The report analyzes greenhouse gas emission levels and trends from all modes of transportation in the United States.  It then examines the full range of strategies available to reduce transportation GHGs.  These strategies include introducing low-carbon fuels, increasing vehicle fuel economy, improving transportation system efficiency, and reducing carbon-intensive travel activity.  While the report does not provide recommendations, it does analyze five categories of policy options for implementing the strategies: an economy-wide price signal, efficiency standards, market incentives, transportation planning and investment programs, and research and development.  Authors of the report will discuss its key findings, followed by time for questions and discussion.

    Agenda:

    Introductory remarks:

    • Beth Osborne, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy
    • Linda Lawson, Co-Chair of the US. DOT Center for Climate Change and Environmental Forecasting and Director of the Office of Safety, Energy, and Environment in the Office of the Secretary of Transportation

    Key findings:

    • John Davies, Environmental Protection Specialist, Federal Highway Administration
    • Joanne Potter, Principal, Cambridge Systematics
    • Tina Hodges, Program Analyst, Federal Transit Administration
    • A.J. Singletary, Environmental Policy Analyst, Office of the Secretary of Transportation

    Questions and  discussion

    Members of the research team will also be available for questions and discussion, including representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Research & Innovative Technology Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration, the Federal Transit Administration, and Cambridge Systematics.

    Link to the report: http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/32000/32700/32779/DOT_Climate_Change_Report_-_April_2010_-_Volume_1_and_2.pdf

    For more information, please contact JoAnna Smith at JoAnna.Smith@dot.gov.

    Please forward to other interested colleagues.

    This webinar is sponsored by the U.S. DOT Center for Climate Change and Environmental Forecasting.  The Center is the focal point within U.S. DOT for information and technical expertise on transportation and climate change, working with its component organizations to coordinate related research, policies, and actions. The Center promotes comprehensive multimodal approaches to reduce GHG emissions and prepare for the effects of climate change on the transportation system, while advancing U.S. DOT’s core goals of safety, mobility, environmental stewardship, and security.