Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: Regional Governance for Sustainable Transportation: Measuring GHG Reduction Actions in Long Range Transportation Plans

Saturday, November 14, 2015 : 11:15 AM
Board Room (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Megan Mullin, Duke University
This research develops a measurement strategy and reports the initial results of the first nationwide analysis of the metropolitan governance processes that shape GHG reduction in U.S. transportation systems. The overwhelming majority of transportation investment is organized and implemented at the regional level, yet we know little about whether and how metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) are directing investment toward programs and systems that reduce GHG emissions.  MPOs are made up of representatives from local governments and transportation agencies in the region. Their structures and decision making processes vary widely, and they operate within a dense network of governmental and non-governmental actors that exert influence over project proposals, priorities, funding, and implementation.  

The paper develops a measurement strategy for coding sustainability content in regional transportation plans. Because all MPOs must prepare LRTPs as a condition to distribute federal and state transportation funds, the plans provide a policy outcome that can be compared across regions and governance processes.

We apply this methodology to analyze LRTPs for a sample of cities to investigate how MPOs shape sustainability outcomes through their activities in prioritizing and funding projects and providing a forum for regional coordination among municipal leaders and the public.