OLYMPIA – Earth Day 2013 marks an opportunity for Washingtonians to learn how they can reduce their own carbon emissions and how programs at the Washington State Department of Transportation can help.
Transportation-related activities account for nearly half of the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Washington. In its long-range plans and day-to-day operations, WSDOT considers sustainability practices to help reduce GHG emissions in a multitude of ways. This includes designing highways that work best for communities, integrating transit, bicycling and walking into projects and employing techniques that reduce stormwater pollutants.
“The things we do in our homes and on our roads can make a big difference in combating climate change,” said Governor Inslee. “Each and every one of us has an opportunity every day to improve the health of our air, land and water. Whether it’s carpooling with a friend to work one day a week, planning your trips to reduce the miles on your car, or even choosing to commute on your bike, these small steps add up to big reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and polluted stormwater runoff.”
WSDOT is making highways more efficient by smoothing traffic flow through the worst choke points, using fewer building materials by recycling, and extending the lifespan of roads and structures.
“WSDOT is already considered a national leader in transportation technology and sustainability,” said Secretary of Transportation Lynn Peterson. “I hope to build on this strong reputation by partnering with communities to help us maintain our previous investments and continue building a smart multimodal system for the future.”
WSDOT’s sustainable transportation website includes ways people can reduce their carbon footprint by using transit, learning about ridesharing opportunities, accessing electric car charging stations and driving alternative-fuel vehicles.
Some recent WSDOT initiatives to reduce carbon emissions and conserve natural resources include:
- Fueling agency fleet vehicles, such as work trucks, dump trucks and snowplows, with up to 20 percent biodiesel
- Changes in ferry-vessel operations, such as reducing speeds along some routes; testing reduced-throttle push turns at the dock during loading; and using five percent biodiesel for all vessels to conserve fuel and reduce emissions
- EnviroStars certification for state ferry terminals in King, Jefferson, Kitsap, Pierce and Skagit counties, and state ferry vessels certified by the National Passenger Vessel Association Waters program
- Transforming the MV Hyak ferry into a hybrid vessel, saving about $21.5 million over the remaining life of the vessel
- Completion of Washington’s section of the West Coast Green Highway; an ongoing initiative is furthering Washington’s fast-charge Electric Highway infrastructure, in partnership with Oregon
- A federally funded pilot project to address climate and extreme weather risks to transportation systems, such as flooding in the Skagit River Basin
- Working on a pilot project to incorporate adaptive light-emitting-diode lighting (LED) systems on state highways
- Multiple projects that protect and restore natural habitats near state transportation facilities