USDOT Transportation and Climate Change Newsletter – Late Summer/Fall 2011

November 16, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Prepared by the Office of Planning, Environment and Realty,  Federal Highway Administration

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Recent Events and Reports

NHTSA and EPA Issue NOI for Model Year 2017-2025 Vehicle Fuel Economy, GHG Emissions. In an August 9 Federal Register notice (html), NHTSA and EPA issued a supplemental notice of intent to develop fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards for model year 2017-2025 light-duty vehicles, with an ultimate fuel economy standard of 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light trucks by model year 2025.

FHWA and Volpe Center Release Guide on Incorporating Climate Change Considerations into Scenario Planning, Results of a Cape Cod Pilot Project. A Framework for Considering Climate Change in Transportation and Land Use Scenario Planning: Final Report is a product of the Interagency Transportation, Land Use, and Climate Change Cape Cod Pilot Project a multi-agency project that took place between early 2010 and mid-2011. The Pilot Project provided a transportation and land use development scenario for Cape Cod, Massachusetts, focused on reducing future greenhouse gas emissions and considering the potential impacts of sea-level rise on the region. This scenario was derived from a process of data collection, scenario development by a consultant and regional and local government during a workshop, and scenario assessment. The outcomes of this scenario planning process will inform and support the region’s long-range transportation planning and other related efforts, as well as the planning efforts of local, state, and federal agencies. The report/guidebook gives an overview of the process used and includes lessons learned that could inform future similar efforts. The pilot project was jointly funded by FHWA, the National Park Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

First installment of Gulf Coast Study, Phase 2 completed. U.S. DOT recently posted the first of several interim deliverables for the project. Task 1: Assessing Infrastructure for Criticality in Mobile, AL examines transportation infrastructure to assess and identify the parts of the transportation system deemed most important to the Mobile area. Analyses were conducted to rank assets based on an analysis of operational, socio-economic and health and safety characteristics for each transportation mode. The information in this interim report and the next one on climate change projections (Task 2) will be used to assess the vulnerability of critical links and assets (Task 3).

Electric Vehicles Study Underway, Interim Products Released. FHWA, AASHTO and the Pew Center for Climate Change have undertaken a research project to accelerate the adoption of plug-in electric vehicles by defining an action plan for integrating these vehicles with the U.S. electrical grid nationwide. Three white papers will be developed as a result of the project including:

  • State of Play: identifies and explains (1) challenges for the nationwide development of the plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) market, (2) public policies in place to support PEV deployment, (3) PEV market forecasts, and (4) current PEV deployment (Completed)
  • Literature Review: summarizes (1) key externalities that PEVs might address; (2) issues related to PEVs, the electric power system, and the vehicle market; and (3) public policy options. (Completed)
  • Action Plan: will propose a set of recommendations for integrating plug-in electric vehicles with the U.S. electrical grid nationwide. The plan will address the respective roles of the various government and private sector players, lay out a timeline for critical steps, and describe an adaptive strategy that takes into account lessons learned. (In Progress)

More information on the project can be found on the Pew PEV Website.

FTA Releases Report on Climate Change Impacts to Transit. Flooded Bus Barns and Buckled Rails: Public Transportation and Climate Change Adaptation is an excellent report that includes a discussion of anticipated climate change impacts on U.S. transit; synthesizes existing vulnerability assessment, risk management and adaptation planning tools with application to public transit agencies; describes strategies for adapting transit assets and operations to climate change impacts; and links adaptation strategies to transit agency organizational structures and activities. Detailed case studies focus on climate adaptation activities by the New York State MTA; the Los Angeles County MTA; Mobile, Alabama’s Wave Transit (part of US DOT’s Gulf Coast Study); and Transport for London.

GAO Releases Report on Federal Climate Change Funding. The GAO’s new report – Climate Change: Improvements Needed to Clarify National Priorities and Better Align Them with Federal Funding Decisions – provides information on climate change funding levels and how climate change activities are organized across the Federal government. The report concludes that two key factors complicate efforts to align climate change related expenditures with climate change strategic priorities: 1) a lack of a shared understanding of these priorities, in part due to inconsistent messaging across policy forums and documents, and 2) the existing mechanisms for aligning priorities and funding are non-binding, and at times conflict with agency responsibilities and priorities. The GAO recommends the establishment of clear federal climate change priorities, including relevant agency roles and responsibilities, and a reassessment of the current practices for defining and reporting federal climate change funding.

TRB Releases E-Circular on Adapting Transportation Infrastructure for Climate Change. Adapting Transportation to the Impacts of Climate Change: State of the Practice 2011, includes ten articles on climate change adaptation issues and activities in the transportation sector.

Report Details Recommendations and Methods for Inventorying GHG Emissions from State DOT Operations. While much focus on State DOT GHG emissions has been on tailpipe emissions from vehicles operating on state roads and highways, this NCHRP 25-25 Task 65 Report, Synthesis of Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory Methodologies for State Transportation Departments, focuses on the emissions resulting from state DOTs’ own operations.

DOT Headquarters Building Achieves LEED Gold Standard.DOT’s headquarters building has achieved a gold designation for the category “Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance Certification.” The building is owned by The JBG Companies. Several highlights of the project are:

  • JBG earned an Energy Star rating of 93 during the performance period. (This was the second year the Energy Star designation was awarded)
  • Water fixtures were retrofitted resulting in a $64, 000 reduction in water expenditures, a 25% reduction over the prior year.
  • The recycling plan was enhanced, resulting in 50% of all waste being diverted from the landfill by recycling. This also included a 100% recycling of mercury containing lamps and batteries.
  • The cleaning contractor, Busy Bee, implemented a comprehensive Green Cleaning Program. This includes over 90% of the cleaning products meeting the independent sustainability criteria, such as Green Seal.
  • The US DOT purchased 100% of its electricity from green renewable sources.
  • The maintenance staff made modifications to the Building Automation System in order to exceed the ASHRAE 62.1-2007 standards for ventilation. In addition, high efficiency MERV 14 filters were installed to reduce airborne particulate for an improved Indoor Air Quality program.

The highlights above are some of the 37 separate credits addressed across all LEED subject areas.

State and Local News

New Initiative Promotes “Smart” Transportation at State DOTs. The State Smart Transportation Initiative (SSTI) is a new working group of state DOT executives interested in transportation reform, for better economic, social and environmental outcomes. SSTI member states also work to improve management and governance of transportation agencies. SSTI disseminates accounts of state-level reform for use by the general transportation community. For example, SSTI has just published reviews of the sea change at Pennsylvania Department of Transportation as well as Washington State Department of Transportation’s Sustainability Efforts. For these documents, or to subscribe to SSTI news, event announcements, and reports, please go

Caltrans Issues Sea Level Rise Guidance.Caltrans has developed Guidance on Incorporating Sea Level Rise for use in planning and development of Project Initiation Documents. The guidance includes a two step process to determine whether to include adaptation measures in the project programming and design: (1) determine whether the project will potentially be impacted by seal level rise, and (2) conduct a risk assessment to determine whether the potential impacts warrant spending the resources to incorporate adaptation measures into project design. The guidance includes discussion of ten factors to consider when determining whether to incorporate sea level rise into project programming and design. The guidance also includes a standard set of sea level rise projections to be used statewide.

Wilmington Area Planning Council Publishes Sea Level Rise Transportation Vulnerability Assessment.WILMAPCO’s Transportation Vulnerability Assessment identifies existing and planned transportation infrastructure at risk under Maryland and Delaware-specific inundation and surge scenarios. The assessment profiles both regional and neighborhood-level impacts. A steering committee comprised of local transportation and environmental planners, sea-level rise experts and interested members of the public guided the project. Additional information can be found on WILMAPCO’s sea level rise homepage.


CTOD to Hold Webinar on Climate Change and Transit Oriented Development, December 20, from 2:00-3:00 EST. This webinar is one in a monthly series conducted by the Center for Transit Oriented Development and sponsored by FTA. Registration opens two weeks prior to the webinar.


FHWA Holding Series of Webinars on Congestion Pricing. The FHWA Offices of Operations and Innovative Program Delivery have launched a new webinar series, entitled “Overcoming the Challenges of Congestion Pricing.” These webinars are aimed at state and local agencies that are currently in the process of implementing or would like to implement congestion pricing; decision-makers/political leaders who want to better understand the benefits of congestion pricing; MPOs that may be interested in incorporating pricing into their planning activities; and others who just want to learn more about congestion pricing strategies. Congestion pricing strategies can often have a co-benefit of reducing GHG emissions. Registration is free and open to everyone who is interested.

Future Webinar Schedule – October through December 2011 (dates are tentative and subject to change)

  • October 27 – Integrating Transit with Congestion Pricing and Increasing Congestion Pricing Acceptance
  • November 17 — Best Practices in Parking Pricing
  • December 15 — Results of the Urban Partnership and Congestion Reduction Demonstration Programs.

If you have any suggestions for inclusion in future issues of Transportation and Climate Change News, or if someone forwarded this newsletter to you and you’d like to receive it directly in the future, please send your suggestions or request to Becky Lupes at or

Job Alert: Transportation Management Specialist/Planner II @ District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT), Washington, DC

November 15, 2011 at 12:50 pm

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is seeking a mid-level planning professional who has demonstrated technical skills and a passion for smart, urban solutions. If you are interested, please send your resume to -AND- apply through the District of Columbia Department of Human Resources at the link below. The first screening date is November 22, 2011.

Job Overview

Transportation planners conduct professional analytical work identifying, leading, conducting and implementing transportation planning studies and policies. Planners contribute to capital budget formulation and prioritization, promote sustainable transportation system planning with local government officials, and educate and collaborate with local stakeholders. The ideal candidate will contribute to the visionary – future oriented – perspective of the Strategic Planning Branch of the Policy Planning and Sustainability Administration (PPSA) in the District Department of Transportation (DDOT). The District of Columbia faces significant transportation challenges and is seeking innovative solutions. This is an opportunity to work on a range of transportation planning issues that are at the cutting edge of the profession.

Major Duties
Major Duties of a Planner II include:
  • Collect, analyze and interpret transportation and land use data;
  • Manage transportation studies including scoping, contract management, product review, and public and interagency coordination;
  • Execute technical writing assignments and report preparation;
  • Research economic, demographic, fiscal, legal, and technical elements for projects;
  • Perform data collection and manipulation using spreadsheet and database software;
  • Gather and prepare material and data for proposals / presentations.
  • Perform site / field evaluations;
  • Review and assess traffic and environmental impact studies;
  • Contribute to alternative planning recommendations;
  • Attend meetings both within and outside the agency pertaining to existing and potential projects;
  • Contribute to development of the state Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP).
  • Coordinate the review of development plans including interpreting and applying appropriate zoning regulations, planning policies, and guidelines.
  • Conduct and participate in meetings with community groups, advisory groups, representatives  of other governmental agencies, developers, and others;
  • Lead, guide, and train less experienced employees. Serve as lead planner on various committees or for special projects.
Knowledge and Abilities Required
Successful Transportation Planner candidates must possess considerable knowledge of analytical planning techniques applied in the collection and analysis of data and information pertaining to transportation issues. They must also have general knowledge of: the various transportation modes and their interrelationships; and of transportation services and programs.  Candidates must be able to think conceptually, observe and evaluate trends, analyze data, draw logical conclusions, and make sound critical decisions and recommendations.  Candidates must demonstrate ability to communicate effectively in oral and written form; establish and maintain effective working relationships with a variety of stakeholders; and translate current planning objectives and long-range planning goals into strategies that can be successfully implemented.   Ideal candidates will have experience in: evaluating transportation impacts of land use proposals, preparing long range transportation plans, GIS and travel demand analysis.  They will have strong analytical skills, teambuilding skills, the ability to organize and coordinate multiple projects and assignments while establishing priorities that accurately reflect departmental objectives, and the ability to work independently and follow through.  Experience in translating technical concepts into information accessible to the public is highly desired.  Candidates must display high standards of ethical conduct, exhibit honesty and integrity, be committed to quality service, and show a high level of personal initiative to work with minimal supervision.  Overall, candidates should demonstrate a passion for planning and issues related to land use-transportation linkage and smart growth.
Work Environment
Transportation planners operate in a team-based environment where staff members work collaboratively to deliver key outcomes and/or products.  The atmosphere is demanding and sometimes fast-paced, but also rewarding and involves tangible results.  Individuals who possess initiative and resourcefulness tend to excel most at DDOT. Planners receive broad guidance from and report to the Strategic Planning Branch Chief.  However, incumbents perform the functions of their positions independently, and often represent the Department in dealing with government officials and the private sector.   Most hours of the day are spent in an office setting, though some field work involving direct contact with transportation facilities is necessary.  Planners are also responsible for attending and/or leading some evening and weekend meetings at community sites.
Scope and Effect
Transportation planners at DDOT direct the analysis of transportation services and facilities in the District, and develop mid and long range plans for capital improvements.  They deal with issues affecting all users including pedestrians, bicyclists, children, seniors, persons with disabilities, motorists, movers of commercial goods, and users of public transportation; and are also well versed in community development, comprehensive land use planning, and long term priorities of the District of Columbia. P lanners are responsible for articulating a progressive definition of issues through an analysis of data, discussion with transportation stakeholders, citizens, and others; and must navigate appropriate project development steps that ensure compliance with relevant District and federal laws.  Work requires the application of various quantitative and qualitative tools such as surveys, demand models, resource allocation techniques, and sampling theories in the analysis of data and information from a variety of sources.
In sum, the work contributes to improving the safety, efficiency, and convenience of the District’s transportation system.  It enhances opportunities for economic development and physical development in the District by maintaining and improving transportation services and facilities for those users who depend on such service.

Caution: Remember to Breathe! Drifting Like a Devil – Awesome Biker Stunt!

November 14, 2011 at 7:23 pm

(Source: Hell For Leather)

As a former devil who rode on two wheels, this video makes me gasp for air. The balance and control required to pull off the moves with this degree of difficulty by French stunt ace Jorian Ponomareff is simply breathtaking.  This video has all the ingredients to make it go viral (it has already registered a 445K hits on YouTube –  incredibly beautiful slow motion camera work, nice music and a lot of extreme motoring talent.  Add to the mix a smattering of French (heard in the making of the stunt) and a beautiful blonde girl strutting her style with a pair of jean shorts – now you have everything to make this a compelling video! If you still find a few minutes, check out other stunt videos on Jorian’s Facebook page.

Infographic: United States Has More Broken Bridges Than Golden Arches

November 14, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Click image to enlarge


Singing Ballads for Transit – A Creative Soul Makes His Case for Better Public Transportation in Durham, North Carolina

November 8, 2011 at 8:50 pm


Today the Durham County (North Carolina) voters are voting to decide on a sales tax increase that would help fund big improvements to public transit.  Shown below is David McKnight, a local pro-transit man who decided to get a little creative and whipped out a song to encourage voters to vote in support of better public transportation.  So, in appreciation for David’s community service encouraging investment in public transportation, he gets some love from Transportgooru with this blog post and a tweet.

Note: Fellow Redditor, PokeBallsofSteel (yes, that’s his Reddit handle) also notes that David is a skilled violin player. Say a hi to David if you happen to be in the Ninth Street area of Durham (which is near Duke campus?).

Gulping Gallons? Fuel Efficiency in the United States – An Infographic Overview

November 2, 2011 at 6:26 pm

(Source:  Moving Solutions, Inc. via Autobloggreen)

MoveBuilder has put together an excellent infographic that has all these values, along with such esoteric numbers as the fuel consumption of NASA’s Crawler-transporter and how fast a person could pedal a bike if he or she could metabolize gasoline as efficiently as food (912mph, which would be a really good reason to stay clear of the bike lane).

Fuel Efficiency in the US

Fellowship Opportunity: Bloomberg Innovation Delivery Fellowship – Call for Applications

November 2, 2011 at 4:40 pm

(Via Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University)

The Research Center for Leadership in Action at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University, in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, is pleased to announce a call for applications for the Bloomberg Innovation Delivery Fellowship.

The Bloomberg Innovation Delivery Fellowship is part of an initiative to support Innovation Delivery Teams in five cities across the United States. Innovation Delivery Teams help mayors develop and deliver powerful solutions to major urban challenges. Situated in a mayor’s office, these teams of top performers bring rigorous focus and best-in-class practice to identifying powerful solutions, developing implementation plans and then managing for results – effectively engaging all necessary stakeholders to support success throughout the process. Bloomberg Philanthropies has invested $24 million over three years to enable five cities – Atlanta, Chicago, Louisville, Memphis, and New Orleans – to recruit and hire top tier talent to staff their teams (see attached press release and news coverage). Over the next three years, each city will receive extensive technical assistance and support through the initiative to get the teams up and running and to identify best practices and lessons as each team customizes the model to meet local needs.

Selected Cities, Mayors and Priority Areas

Atlanta: Mayor Kasim Reed

  • Introduce 311 and other initiatives to improve customer service
  • Dramatically reduce street homelessness

Chicago: Mayor Rahm Emanuel

  • Reduce waiting and processing times for key city services
  • Dramatically scale energy efficiency efforts

Louisville – Mayor Greg Fischer

  • Partner with Lexington to implement a new regional export strategy
  • Improve agency performance and public accountability

Memphis: Mayor A C Wharton, Jr.

  • Increase small business growth in target neighborhoods
  • Reduce handgun violence

New Orleans: Mayor Mitch Landrieu

  • Reduce waiting and processing times for key city services
  • Reduce homicides

Fellowship Information

The fellowship will recruit five early-tenure professionals who aspire to exceptional careers in public service to support these new teams. Each fellow will serve a two-year commitment as part of the Innovation Delivery Team in one of the selected cities. Reporting to the Team Director, fellows will add value to the cities by supporting city-specific strategies, documenting progress in all phases of the innovation and delivery process, and implementing data collection systems and basic analysis that accelerate progress and elevate best practices on government innovation.

This fellowship will offer an unparalleled leadership opportunity that includes a hands-on learning experience supported by a national learning network and first-tier academic expertise. The program provides fellows a unique understanding of government innovation coupled with access to senior leaders in municipal government and the opportunity to be part of a groundbreaking team model that brings real change to one of the selected American cities.

Fellowship Components

  • Full-time assignment to one of the selected cities for the duration of the two-year program.
  • Orientation, including leadership development and training in policy analysis and management topics relevant to the fellow role and the assigned city priority areas.
  • Site visits to other Innovation Delivery Team cities with opportunities for development and learning.
  • Access to networking opportunities with peers and influential leaders in municipal government.
  • Shared fellowship experience and deep connection with a supportive group of peers.
  • Hands-on experience with leading edge approaches to innovation.


  • Report to and work side-by-side with the Team Director as she or he builds the Team and oversees its work, being deployed as needed to support the development and execution of city-specific strategies.
  • Ensure that a clear record is kept of process and programmatic work and innovations at the individual city level.
  • Document the Team’s progress in all stages of the innovation and delivery process, which will include tracking and analyzing data.
  • Contribute to the knowledge building effort led by NYU Wagner and participate in fellowship activities (e.g., convenings, conference calls).


  • Graduate degree in public policy or administration plus at least two years of work experience preferred. In exceptional cases a Bachelor’s degree plus four years of work experience may be accepted.
  • Background and demonstrated interest in public sector policy and implementation. Public sector work experience is strongly preferred; in the case of applicants without a graduate degree it is required.
  • Exhibited leadership and project management responsibilities; strong communication skills; positive and proactive “can do” attitude.
  • Familiarity with data collection and analysis and strong analytical and writing skills.
  • Demonstrated eligibility to work in the United States.

Application Requirements
Please submit the following by November 15, 2011

  • Fellowship Application Form indicating the cities of interest in ranked preference order.
  • Two short statements (500 words or fewer per statement), one describing your interest in public sector innovation and the other your readiness for serving as a Bloomberg Innovation Delivery Fellow.
  • Resume.

Please use the Fellowship Reference Form and ask one reference to submit a letter of recommendation directly to by November 15, 2011. Please provide the names and contact information of two additional references through theFellowship Application Form.

Selection and Notification Process

  • Fellows will be pre-selected through a national competitive process and finalists will be selected by the cities indicated in the application forms.
  • Final decisions will be made by January 6, 2012.
  • Fellows will be required to start work on site in their assigned city on January 17, 2012.


  • Full-time salary of $60,000 annualized.
  • Reimbursement of pre-approved health insurance.

Fellowship Application Form
Fellowship Reference Form

Contact Information
Research Center for Leadership in Action
New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service

The Puck Building
295 Lafayette Street, 2nd floor, New York, NY 10012

Phone: (212) 998-7552