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Improving Travel Efficiency at the Local Level

by Shruti Vaidyanathan, ACEEE Senior Transportation Analyst Nov 19, 2012

This post was originally published on the ACEEE blog.

A comprehensive approach to transportation energy efficiency must include a combination of strategies targeted at both vehicle fuel efficiency and travel behavior. While the federal government has taken the lead on fuel efficiency, local and regional policies that reduce the need for driving are also essential to achieve an efficient and sustainable transportation system.

Today ACEEE released a new local guide to help municipalities and metropolitan regions identify policies to expand transportation choices and improve transportation system efficiency. The toolkit is targeted at local policymakers and stakeholders interested in reducing transportation-related fuel consumption in their communities.

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EPA Releases Guide to Sustainable Transportation Performance Measures

by U.S. EPA Sep 08, 2011

Bus with motion blur

EPA sustainable transportation guide thumbEPA's Office of Sustainable Communities has published a Guide to Sustainable Transportation Performance Measures. The guide describes opportunities for transportation agencies to incorporate environmental, economic, and social sustainability into decision-making through the use of performance measures. Performance measures allow decision-makers to quickly observe the effects of a proposed transportation plan or project, or to monitor trends in transportation system performance over time.

The guide describes 12 performance measures that can readily be used in transportation decision-making, and for each, it presents possible metrics, summarizes analytical methods and data sources, and illustrates its use by one or more transportation agencies.

Blue yellow arrow icon small Download the Guide

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How to Consider Climate Change in Transportation and Land Use Planning

by Emma Timboy-Pickering Aug 31, 2011

City Bicycle Road

A Framework for Considering Climate Change in Transportation and Land Use Scenario Planning: Final ReportCheck out this new guidebook from the U.S. Department of Transportation, intended to serve as a resource for organizations that may be interested in, or stand to benefit from, incorporating climate change considerations into transportation and land use planning.

Blue yellow arrow icon small Download the Full Report (pdf)

Based on lessons learned from an interagency pilot project on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center has developed a guidebook for integrating climate change into transportation and land-use scenario planning. Through a process of data collection and scenario development, the pilot project resulted in a multi-agency transportation and land use development scenario for Cape Cod, with a focus on reducing future greenhouse gas emissions and considering the potential impacts of sea-level rise on the region. 

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New Tools to Accelerate Adoption of Electric Vehicles

by U.S. Department of Energy Aug 24, 2011

electric vehicle charging station lake oswego (credit: flickr via Todd Mecklem)

Electric vehicle charging station in Lake Oswego, OR (photo credit: Todd Mecklem
via Flickr)

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced the launch of two online tools designed to help communities better prepare for widespread adoption of plug-in electric vehicles (EVs). DOE has developed a template to help local governments design permits for residential EV charger installations and accelerate the approval process. DOE has also released a training video to provide inspectors and electricians with a guide to facilitate inspections and installations of home EV chargers.

Blue yellow arrow icon small View the Permits Template

Blue yellow arrow icon small View the Training Video

These tools will encourage cities to develop standardized permitting and inspection procedures and help local officials streamline their processes. They also aim to create more favorable conditions for EV businesses, including infrastructure providers and installers, to thrive as more plug-in electric vehicles come to the market. This effort will not only speed the adoption of EVs that reduce our reliance on foreign oil, it will make it easier for EV drivers to save energy and money by charging at home.

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In 4 Cities, Bicycling Advances as Safe Transportation Option

by Don Knapp Jul 20, 2011

Bicycle Lane

This week's news and blog headlines shared forward progress from four cities working to making bicycling easier, safer, and more prevalent on their streets.


Bicycle or Bike Sign Square ThumbChicago's New Protected Bike Lanes (TheCityFix)
Along with a new mayor, Chicago got its first protected bike lanes this past month. Funded by a federal grant, the Chicago Department of Transportation is installing the half-mile bike lane as a pilot program.


Bicycle or Bike Sign Square ThumbBicycle Safety Plan Rolled Out for Boston (Sustainable City Network)
Mayor Thomas M. Menino, in conjunction with partner groups announced a new enforcement and education campaign to promote safe behavior among cyclists and drivers in preparation for the city's launch of the new bike-share program, New Balance Hubway.

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Watch ICLEI’s Top 10 Sustainability Webinars

by Don Knapp May 09, 2011

green electrical outlet banner

Have you been tracking ICLEI USA’s webinars for local governments? Over the past year, we’ve featured dozens of sustainability innovators who have shared their experience and expertise so that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Below, we’ve compiled our top 10 of the past 12 months. Click to watch them on demand, or download the presentation slides.

To keep up with our latest sustainability webinars, trainings, resources, news, and tips for local governments, subscribe to our free, bi-weekly ICLEI Connection e-newsletter.

Our Top 10, On Demand

Note: some webinars are for members only and require a website login.

Arrow icon1. Sustainability in the Master Plan and Zoning Code (Nov. 2010)
ICLEI’s most popular webinar of 2010. Midwest local government staff share perspectives on the role of the master plan and zoning code in creating sustainable communities.

Arrow icon2. Clean Energy and Sustainability as a Local Economic Development Strategy
Part 1: Saving Money, Expanding Markets, and Building a Talented Workforce
Part II: Leveraging Public Resources and Federal Funding
(Nov. 2010)
Connect the dots between sustainability and prosperity. Learn from the leading experts ICLEI brought together for this popular two-part series.

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Message to the President: Energy Independence Requires Local Transportation Solutions

by Martin Chávez, ICLEI USA Executive Director Apr 11, 2011

Orange Traffic Light and Barricades

Caution: National energy independence cannot be achieved unless local governments
are empowered to implement smart transportation policies.

Guest blogger: Martin Chávez, ICLEI USA Executive Director:

Martin ChavezIn his March 30 speech on energy at Georgetown University, President Obama declared that “there are no quick fixes” with regard to the country’s energy policy, and noted that huge amounts of the nation’s wealth and petroleum consumption are directly tied to transportation.

While the President’s acknowledgment of this reality is a step in the right direction, any energy independence vision must include marshaling the power of local governments to address a fundamental issue: our unsustainable dependence on the auto-based economy.

Our cities and towns are a key component of addressing climate change, and this must be matched by serious and forward-thinking urban planning. It is encouraging to witness President Obama stress the importance of a reduction of reliance on fossil fuels, but an increased reliance on biofuels, domestic oil drilling and natural gas must also be coupled with better growth policies and empowerment of localities to build more energy independent communities.

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How Local Governments Are Leading the Way to Cleaner Transportation

by Adrienne DeAngelo Mar 21, 2011

Clean Transportation from Webinar Slideshow

On March 17, 2011, Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie and speakers from ICLEI, NRDC, and NESCAUM participated in a webinar discussion to demonstrate how state and local governments are leading the way to cleaner transportation options.

If you missed the webinar, you can watch to the complete video file or view the slide show for highlights. 


small green arrow icon View the Recorded Webinar

small green arrow icon View the Presentation Slides (pdf)


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NACTO Launches Urban Bikeway Design Guide

by Adrienne DeAngelo Mar 14, 2011

NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide

Photo credit: NACTO website

The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) has unveiled a new tool  for designers and planners that will take their bikeway plans to the next level.

NACTO's comprehensive new Urban Bikeway Design Guide was developed by cities for cities to provide practical, street-wise solutions that are safe and enjoyable for bicyclists. To create the Guide, the team conducted an extensive survey of expert knowledge, existing design guidelines from places around the world, and projects on the ground.

The guide can be adopted by individual cities, counties, or states as either a stand-alone document or as a supplement to other guidance documents. NACTO says the guide will be updated regularly and will have a website with engineering drawings, 3-D renderings and images of the various design treatments, as well as a professional discussion area.

Among the topics covered in the guide:

  • Bike Lanes
  • Cycle Tracks
  • Intersection
  • Signals
  • Signing & Marketing
  • City Projects (detailed case studies from a variety of cities)

>> View the Urban Bikeway Design Guide

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Lexington-Fayette, KY, Greens Its Fleet, Institutes “No Idling” Policy

by Adrienne DeAngelo Feb 10, 2011

Auto Car Exhaust Tailpipe (Flickr Creative Commons image)

Photo credit: Simone Ramella via Flickr Creative Commons

The Achievement

Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (LFUCG) has 60 gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles – currently the largest fleet of hybrid vehicles in Kentucky. These vehicles get about twice the mileage of the vehicles they replaced. The City of Lexington also instituted a strict “No Idling Policy” for government vehicles to help reduce carbon emissions. All gasoline and diesel powered vehicles and equipment will idle only as necessary to perform required duties or essential functions.

On a similar front, the LFUCG has steadily increased its use of biodiesel fuel since a 2006 initiative coordinated by Lexington MPO staff and done under the Bluegrass Partnership for A Green Community umbrella.

The Benefits

Each year, the City’s 60 hybrids produce 13,900 fewer pounds of carbon monoxide, 2,195 fewer pounds of hydrocarbons, and 995 fewer pounds of nitrogen oxides than 60 conventionally powered vehicles.


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