Reducing transportation greenhouse gas emissions
Learn about how we are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the state.
We are implementing elements of the 2021 Washington State Energy Strategy, which identifies a two-pronged approach to reduce transportation sector emissions:
- Move people and goods more efficiently and equitably.
- Electrify vehicles and switch to low carbon fuels.
State Transportation Carbon Reduction Strategy
The Washington State Transportation Carbon Reduction Strategy identifies and summarizes the policies and strategies to reduce transportation carbon emissions being developed and implemented by state agencies, tribes, community organizations, regional and local jurisdiction partners, and industry. This strategy is a requirement to access Carbon Reduction Program funds. Find more about this federal Carbon Reduction Program.
Moving people and goods efficiently and equitably
We are working with our partners on many efforts to improve the efficiency and equity of our transportation system. Through Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO) efforts, we work to operate the existing transportation system as safely and efficiently as possible.
Expanding active and public transportation
Expanding active transportation and transit use throughout the state provides a more efficient alternative to driving alone and access for those who do not drive:
- We are using a complete streets approach to incorporate active transportation infrastructure into agency projects.
- We provide support to public agencies for active transportation investments through bike and pedestrian funding and safe routes to school funding.
- We plan for and administer grants for public transportation, as well as support integrating transportation demand management into agency and partner projects.
- We support inter-city travel through the Travel Washington Intercity Bus and regular passenger rail service. We are studying how ultra-high-speed rail might serve the Pacific Northwest.
WSDOT provides a range of planning guidance to help integrate transportation and land use planning activities. In addition, we work with the Departments of Commerce, Ecology, and Health to provide information for local jurisdictions on transportation efficient communities.
During the 2021-2023 biennium, the Legislature directed WSDOT to collaborate with the Department of Commerce on developing vehicle miles traveled targets for counties within Washington State. This work is now complete:
- Technical Report (PDF 3.6MB) (December 2021)
- Interim Technical Report (PDF 6.5MB) (June 2022)
- Final Report (PDF 1.3MB) (June 2023)
Electrifying vehicles and using low carbon fuels
Decarbonizing transportation requires that vehicles use fuels that don't emit greenhouse gas emissions. Making the switch to new fuels requires accessible and affordable charging and refueling infrastructure with incentives to support rapid adoption.
We are also working to electrify WSDOT's fleet, both vehicles and ferry vessels.
Electric vehicle charging infrastructure
Electrifying transportation is a key means of decarbonizing transportation. We co-lead planning and grant administration efforts.
- In July 2023, we submitted the Washington State Plan for Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment for the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program to the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation.
- The new Electric Vehicle Coordinating Council provides a forum for state agencies to collaborate on efforts to accelerate electric vehicle adoption. The council is co-led by WSDOT and Commerce. The council is developing a statewide Transportation Electrification Strategy.
- We administer grant programs to support vehicle electrification. The Zero-emission Vehicle Infrastructure Partnership (ZEVIP) and Zero-emissions Access Program grants provide funding for light-duty vehicle electrification. Commerce is also establishing programs to grants to support electric vehicle expansion. We are working to establish newly funded grant programs for ports and medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.
- The Green Transportation Capital grants provide funding to transit agencies to make investments that reduce carbon emissions. We are establishing newly funded grant programs for ports and medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.