United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

United States of America - Long version

United States Department of State
Washington, D.C.
Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting
UN Commission on Sustainable Development ¨C 19
Thematic Discussion: Transport
Intervention for March 1, Morning Session
Intervention Delivered by: Karen Laughlin, Office of Transportation and Air Quality, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Mr. Chairman, Honorable Ministers, Distinguished Delegates, thank you. We are pleased to join you again at the Commission on Sustainable Development to, together, continue paving the road to sustainable solutions with co-benefits to the transportation challenges that our countries face today and into the future.
Transportation systems are essential to economic growth and stability in developed and developing countries, and efforts to make transportation environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable are essential to achieving our sustainable development goals. Transportation systems also provide critical linkages between continents, nations, and regions, connecting goods to markets, people to jobs and the economy, and businesses to investments.
Last year, we emphasized the success the United States has experienced with innovative solutions that incentivize clean, efficient and effective transportation systems and technology ¨C solutions that harness a mixed portfolio of approaches and partnerships, aggressively reduce transportation impacts on air quality, climate, and other environmental systems, improve human health, and mitigate congestion.
This year, the United States calls on CSD and our partner Nations to harness (1) good institutions, (2) strategic partnerships, (3) technology innovation, and (4) new communication technologies in combination with the time-tested conventional approaches that have proven repeatedly successful to solve three critical global challenges for transportation today ¨C
Achieving the Health, Climate, and Energy Security Benefits of Transportation Emissions Reductions Innovating Goods Movement Systems for the Co-Benefits of Energy Efficiency, Cost Effectiveness, and Reduced Pollution Place-based Policies that Leverage Investment to Build Smart Communities
We distill in this intervention some key lessons learned from our transportation experience to contribute to a foundation of information that will inform the CSD discussion, generate new
ideas among us, and move the results of this CSD from words to fruitful advancement in action on sustainable transport around the world.
Finally, the United States continues to encourage our CSD partners to take advantage of technological advances in communication in and innovative idea generation to address sustainability across thematic issues. We highlight the growing potential of web-based ¨Dcollaborative software,¡¬ as a mechanism to facilitate communication and problem-solving innovations within government organizations as well as in cooperation with stakeholders. For examples, leadership and employees from across the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently worked together to help create an Open Government Plan. As part of the initiative, the Department created the IdeaHub, an online community where employees can post ideas for their colleagues to comment and build upon. It's a collaborative website where all staff - over 55,000 located across the country - are free to participate. Since August 2010 the tool has generated over 2,000 ideas with over 30,000 ratings.
1. Achieving the Health, Climate, and Energy Security Benefits of Transportation Emissions Reductions
We stress the importance of developing integrated transportation strategies that reduce conventional pollution emissions, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve fuel economy at the same time. Already today, both developing and developed countries face the challenge of minimizing the human health, environmental, and energy security impacts while addressing our populations¡¯ need for increased and efficient mobility. According to the International Energy Agency¡¯s (IEA) ¨DEnergy Technology Perspectives 2010,¡¬ global energy use for transportation is expected to double by 2050, only exacerbating the challenge. We recognize that for many developing economies, with rapidly increasing vehicle fleets, better access to air travel, and growing freight needs, the health and environmental impacts of the expanding transport sector are particularly challenging. Successful realization of air quality, climate, and energy security co-benefits requires strategies that Utilize an integrated array of regulatory and policy measures, programs, and partnerships to achieve the optimum set of actions in accordance with national circumstance. Are based on careful, science-based consideration of the interactions between conventional pollutants, greenhouse gases, and fuel economy; Harness market-incentives for the development and adoption of cleaner vehicles, cleaner fuels, and more efficient operation practices; Involve full participation and input of all stakeholders, including all relevant ministries, all relevant national, regional, and local government levels, industry, and non-governmental organizations; and
Our own experience emphasizes that successful pollution reduction programs for transportation must not only address vehicles and engines, but also the fuels they use and the people who operate them. More, the road to clean air also depends on extensive collaboration between national regulatory bodies, vehicle, engine, and fuel manufacturers, researchers, state and local governments, transportation planners, and individual citizens ¨C and depends on collaboration and partnership across and beyond national borders.
We stress that clearly-defined regulatory programs provide certainty to industry, are technologically feasible, and are enforceable on a practical level are fundamental to effective national action to mitigate the air quality and climate impacts of the transportation sector. Voluntary programs and partnerships complement good regulation, and investment in research, development, and deployment underpin the technological advancements that can accelerate a country¡¯s transition to cleaner transportation.
We stress the importance of the link between infrastructure decisions, including transportation infrastructure decisions, and countries¡¯ and communities¡¯ long-term objectives for economic growth, environmental health, and climate mitigation. The United States Enhancing Capacity for Low-Emission Development Strategies program (EC-LEDS) is a U.S. Government initiative to support developing countries¡¯ efforts to pursue long-term, transformative development and accelerate sustainable, climate-resilient economic growth while slowing the growth of greenhouse gas emissions. The initiative will build capacities in partner countries, provide targeted technical assistance, and build a shared global knowledge base on LEDS. This program is country-driven; support for creating and implementing a LEDS will be tailored to each country¡¯s unique capacity, technical, analytical, and policy needs.
We specifically note three key strategies to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (1) investing in low-carbon fuels, (2) improving vehicle technologies, and (3) providing more transportation options that reduce miles traveled.
Conventional Air Pollutants
The United States has a long history of reducing conventional air pollution from all transportation modes, and we continue to attend to the impact of air pollution from the transportation sector on public health and the environment.
Diesel exhaust emissions, including particulate matter, can lead to serious health conditions like asthma and allergies, and can worsen heart and lung disease, especially in vulnerable populations such as children and the elderly. As a result of ambitious yet feasible regulatory programs in the United States, diesel engines manufactured today are cleaner than ever, reducing health impacts and lowering the climate-impacts of black carbon. Minority and disadvantaged populations, however, often receive disproportionate impacts from diesel emissions due to proximity to hotspots at ports and borders. The National Clean Diesel Campaign, comprised of a series of programs to promote clean air strategies by working with manufacturers, air quality professionals, environmental and community organizations, and state and local officials, furthers the United State¡¯s commitment to reduce the health and environmental impacts from diesel emissions in all communities throughout the country.
International voluntary programs have proved very successful. We have brought the successes of our own domestic clean diesel campaign to the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV) ¨C which, after successfully getting the lead out of gasoline, is now turning its attention to sulfur in gasoline and diesel. And we share our sustainable transportation innovations across the globe ¨C for example, public transportation systems in Chile, China, India, Mexico, and Thailand have benefited from EPA¡¯s diesel retrofit technology pilot programs to reduce air pollution.
Lowering the sulfur content in diesel fuels must be a priority. We value PCFV¡¯s work on sulfur reduction and applaud the efforts of the many countries that now have roadmaps to reduce sulfur content in fuels. The benefits of ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) increase significantly when combined with advanced emission control devices on trucks and buses. The U.S. and many other countries approached the regulation of sulfur in diesel and of clean diesel engines simultaneously. In the U.S., current regulations call for 15ppm ULSD content, because we believe that ultra-low sulfur content, along with clean engines and appropriate advanced emission control devices, significantly reduces particulates and enables the technology to work optimally. Once these regulations are fully implemented, environmental benefits will include annual reductions of 2.6 million tons of nitrogen oxides, which cause smog, and 110,000 tons of particulate matter, which aggravates heart and lung diseases.
The co-benefits of traffic congestion and air quality improvement can come hand-in-hand with strategic program implementation. DOT;s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program funds state and local projects to reduce freight sector. Successful projects include diesel engine retrofits, locomotive repowers, truck stop electrification, and intermodal freight transfer projects.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Vehicles
Efforts to improve the environmental sustainability of transportation are also a key piece of the President¡¯s commitment to aggressive action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the fuel economy of vehicles. Under this commitment, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and DOT jointly finalized the first U.S. GHG standards for light-duty vehicles in 2010. These standards will reduce carbon dioxide emissions to a level equivalent to taking 50 million cars and light trucks off U.S. roads in 2030. We emphasize that this national clean car program is the result of a successful collaboration between federal agencies, major automobile manufactures, automobile workers, California and other states, and environmental groups. It has set a strong precedent for the future. The EPA, DOT, and state of California have already taken the first steps that could lead to an extension of the national clean car program for model year 2017-2025 vehicles. In addition, EPA and DOT have proposed the first national program to reduce GHG emissions and improve fuel efficiency of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (e.g., largest pickup trucks and vans, semi trucks, work trucks and buses). This program would potentiallly reduce GHG emissions by nearly 250 million metric tons, save approximately 500 million barrels of oil over the lifetime of vehicles sold from 2014 to 2018, and provide $41 billion in net benefits to society.
The United States also acknowledges the regulatory efforts many of our partner nations, such as Japan, the European Union, and China, to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. The United States welcomes the opportunity to work with these and other nations to share lessons learned as we advance.
The United States is laying the groundwork to transition from fossil-fuel-based transportation with extensive domestic investments in electric-drive vehicle and advanced vehicle battery R&D and production capacity, demonstrations, and charging infrastructure. U.S. domestic investments will provide capacity to produce up to 250,000 electric drive cars and batteries to power 500,000 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles by 2015 and to create over 20,000 charging locations in more
than twelve cities. The United States and China are co-leading the Electric Vehicles Initiative under the Clean Energy Ministerial, working with seven nations (Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden) to accelerate and track global deployment of electric-drive vehicles via demonstrations in pilot cities and information-sharing on investment gaps and best practices. Our goal ¨C to deploy 20 million electric vehicles by 2020. China and the United States have also worked together since 2009 on electric vehicle standards development, advanced battery technology, demonstration projects, technical roadmaps, joint research and scientific exchanges, and public education materials.
We note the ongoing work in UNECE World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) on technical standards for cars and trucks. We encourage countries to continue to bring their technical experts together to carry on open dialogue on the field of technical requirements for vehicles in order to ensure that best safety and environmental practices are adopted and economic principles are taken into account in the development of regulations.
We underscore that countries must encourage the growth of public transit systems that incorporate the best available strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy usage ¨C strategies that draw upon operational and technological innovation. DOT implements the Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) Program, which works directly with public transit agencies to implement new strategies with emphasis on innovative electric drive and related technology approaches. Electric drive initiatives and TIGGER supported projects could include, On-Board Vehicle Energy Management, Electrification of Accessories, Bus Design, Rail Transit Energy Management, and Locomotive Design.
Maritime Shipping and Aviation
International collaboration leads to new and innovative solutions. Through a showcase effort ¨C proposed by the United States., Canada, and France and approved by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) last year ¨C a newly designated Emission Control Area (ECA) in North America will require large ships in the ECA to use dramatically cleaner fuel and technologies, providing substantial public health and environmental benefits that extend hundreds of miles inland in the U.S., Canadian, and French territories and benefiting marine and terrestrial ecosystems. We have also proposed to designate an ECA for the U.S. Caribbean. We hope the North American ECA will serve as a model for shipping waters of other regions of the world.
We note the ongoing work by the international community in IMO and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to find common-sense, science-based solutions to ambitiously reduce greenhouse gases from international maritime shipping and from international aviation activity. Long-standing programs such as the Noise Compatibility Program and Voluntary Airport Low Emissions (VALE) Program help airports achieve sustainability goals by reducing airport ground emissions by financing low emission vehicles, refueling and recharging stations, gate electrification, and other airport air quality improvements.
Investments in both passenger and freight rail infrastructure are a core element of our strategy to reduce the environmental impacts of transport and improve health and safety. Railways enable high-speed and high-density passenger transport and also transport a large amount of
freight in the form of raw materials and goods. Rail transport is one of the most energy efficient modes of transportation available today, and is often considered a strategy to reduce GHG emissions from surface transportation.
As a climate strategy, high speed rail networks represent a competitive option to reduce emissions from aircraft, which produce the same types of emissions as cars and trucks. Many commercial passenger flights in the United States consists of relatively short flights between 100 and 500 miles, distances that could easily be covered by the more environmentally friendly alternative of high-speed train service. Recent studies have demonstrated the feasibility of high-speed rail service between major urban transit corridors in the United States, concluding that a full network of high-speed trains could save billions of pounds of Carbon Dioxide per year. Bioenergy/Biofuels
The United States is firmly committed to the sustainable production and use of biofuels and other bioenergy. Bioenergy plays an important role in diversifying United States renewable energy portfolio, and biofuels have the potential to significantly contribute to the fuel demands in the on-road and aviation transportation industries. We emphasize the importance of programs that promote the necessary innovation to achieve economically feasible advance biofuel technologies ¨C those that can deliver the full promise of greenhouse gas reductions from biofuels. To that end, we reiterate CSD-17¡¯s call to promote continued research and development with a view to continuously enhance the sustainability of biofuels and other bioenergy sources. The U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) mandates 36 billion gallons of biofuels that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. fuel supply by 2022, placing particular emphasis on advanced technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions by greater than 50% as compared to the petroleum-based fuels they replace.
We reassert that a productive, science-based dialogue is important for the continued development of the bioenergy industry. The U.S. is actively engaged in the Global Bioenergy Partnership work to develop science-based indicators for bioenergy sustainability. R&D is important in furthering the potential of bioenergy. The U.S.-Brazil Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to advance biofuels cooperation exemplifies how countries partner together to promote sustainable fuels in other countries. The MOU is making important advancements via bilateral R&D cooperation and by jointly providing policy support, technical assistance, and experience sharing with a total of nine partner countries in Latin American, the Caribbean and recently West Africa as they draft bioenergy legislation and develop domestic biofuels production.
Technology Innovation
Innovation is a critical driver of sustainable economies and job creation, and science and technology RD&D (research, development, and deployment) underpin innovation. Accelerating development and diffusion of clean transportation technologies at sufficient scale requires technology push through public RD&D funding and technology pull ¨C i.e., policies to incentivize private sector involvement when market signals are not fully effective. DOE-supported R&D has significantly lowered the modeled cost of lithium-ion batteries for hybrid electric vehicles, enabling private sector manufacturing. Enhanced international cooperation can leverage complementary strengths and share the cost of public investment in innovation.
2. Innovating Goods Movement Systems for the Co-Benefits of Energy Efficiency, Cost Effectiveness, and Reduced Pollution
We know that efficient, safe, and cost-effective transportation is essential to the economic growth and stability of developed and developing countries. Notable efforts are directed toward making passenger transportation environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable. Most transportation energy use and emissions are still attributed to passenger transport and thus investment in those sustainability efforts should absolutely continue.
However, goods movement is a growing area of concern because of the critical role it plays in economic development. Even before the global recession, manufacturing and freight export initiatives have been a key economic development strategy, particularly for developing economies. Through economic globalization, the goods movement supply chain has grown to become an energy intensive, worldwide network of freight transactions, through multiple transport modes, which cross most nation¡¯s ports and borders. In 2010, the IEA estimated that freight transport energy use will increase at twice the rate for passenger transportation growth, and will represent nearly half of all transport energy use by 2035.
We recognize this challenge in the United States, but also see opportunity. We have learned that a focused effort on freight sustainability can create win/win/win solutions for environmental, social, and economic goals. Policy makers are seeing powerful market drivers which can be leveraged in this sector to drive the adoption of fuel saving and emission reducing technologies and strategies. Efforts can focus on achieving cost savings to help the freight sector better compete, while also improving energy security and reducing GHG emissions and air pollution.
Business and industry are already under growing pressure by shareholders and customers to address climate risk and their carbon footprints. Logistics and supply chain managers, who use fuel efficiency as an indicator of operational efficiency, are bracing themselves for rising energy prices and increased competition. Business can create sustainable solutions by improving freight efficiency and reducing emissions throughout their supply chains.
The SmartWay Transport Partnership is an example of a market-based collaboration which leverages the private sector to meet these public goals. The EPA created this unique initiative with major freight shippers and carriers to improve freight efficiency in the United States. The Partnership now includes some of the world¡¯s largest importers and exporters of freight and in every key economic sector, such as retail, manufacturing, and food and beverage, as well as the nation¡¯s largest trucking firms and rail lines. Over 2,700 participating companies report freight performance date to EPA as they work to improve freight efficiency to save fuel and reduce GHG and other emissions. Freight carriers use EPA-verified technologies such as advanced aerodynamics, idle reduction devices, and fuel-efficient tire systems and wheels, as well as operational practices such as load optimization and mode shift. Freight shippers drive the demand for more sustainable freight operations by committing to ship the majority of their freight with SmartWay carriers. Based on data assessments and scoring, partners compete to earn the rights to use the SmartWay logo as a mark of environmental excellence, further improving visibility of and market demand for cleaner, more sustainable freight transportation.
The program results underscore the business case for sustainable goods movement. Since 2004, SmartWay Partners has collectively saved 14.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), 215,000 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx), 8,000 tons of particulate matter (PM), 1.5 billion gallons of diesel fuel, and 3.5 billion dollars in fuel costs ¨C equivalent to taking three million cars off the road for one year. SmartWay also works to improve financing and access to capital to assist small and independent owner-operator truck drivers to finance truck upgrades to save fuel.
This public-private, market-based collaboration has become a model for other countries and regions as they implement freight sustainability projects. Public authorities, development banks, nongovernmental organizations, and other stakeholders are replicating the SmartWay model in places like China, Australia, the European Union, Canada, and Mexico. The United States supports these efforts where possible with technical exchange and capacity building. By sharing freight sustainability best-practices, we not help other countries to also improve energy security and reduce GHG emissions, but we also contribute to the longer term sustainability of the global goods movement supply chain upon which we all increasingly depend.
Through the U.S. Government's Feed the Future (FTF) Initiative, we are working to alleviate transportation, distribution, and supply-chain bottlenecks to promote regional trade. Measures such as these are critical to improving productivity and meeting rising food demand. For example, FTF investments in Tanzania will better link rural communities to markets by improving roads. This will increase agricultural and other rural-based production, improve rural community access to reasonably priced food, and stimulate greater off-farm employment opportunities. The Millennium Challenge Corporation has collaborated with Compact countries on a number of road improvement or road building projects to cut down the time and difficulty of marketing The United States recognizes the essential importance of adequate road infrastructure to enhance economic development and food security. Indeed, we have built an extensive multimodal network of roads as well as rails, ports, and trails over the past 100 years and have benefitted from the economic development and employment impacts from these improvements. While maintaining and linking these investments, the U.S. also explores opportunities to use public-private partnerships, infrastructure banks, and pricing to leverage future public investments and create millions of jobs nationwide.
Through the U.S. Government's Feed the Future (FTF) Initiative, we are working to alleviate transportation, distribution, and supply-chain bottlenecks to promote regional trade. Measures such as these are critical to improving productivity and meeting rising food demand. For example, FTF investments in Tanzania will better link rural communities to markets by improving roads. This will increase agricultural and other rural-based production, improve rural community access to reasonably priced food, and stimulate greater off-farm employment opportunities. The Millennium Challenge Corporation has collaborated with Compact countries on a number of road improvement or road building projects to cut down the time and difficulty of marketing products, many of them fragile, and prone to spoilage. These investments can raise the value of products, raise incomes through better accessing markets, and also permit relatively isolated rural people to reach medical and educational services. Regionally, transportation and development corridors provide a framework for synergies in investments.
We also echo our French colleague¡¯s intervention in CSD-18, in which France called on the international community to better harness the energy-efficiency, low-emission, and safety of river transportation. Marine freight transportation is a key element of the freight strategy of the United States. As part of ¨DAmerica¡¯s Marine Highway Program,¡¬ the DOT identified 18 marine corridors where water transportation presents an opportunity to offer relief to landside corridors that suffer from traffic congestion, excessive air emissions or other environmental concerns and other challenges. In addition, we encourage our partner nations to look at our Marine Highways Cooperative, a consortium of public, private, and academic organizations committed to improving transportation mobility through domestic short sea shipping.
3. Place-based Policies that Leverage Investment to Build Smart Communities
The United States recognizes the essential importance of adequate road infrastructure to enhance economic development and food security. Indeed, we have built an extensive multimodal network of roads as well as rails, ports, and trails over the past 100 years and have benefitted from the economic development and employment impacts from these improvements. While maintaining and linking these investments, the U.S. also explores opportunities to use public-private partnerships, infrastructure banks, and pricing to leverage future public investments and create millions of jobs nationwide.
Cities, towns, and rural communities all face unique housing, transportation, and environmental circumstances that change over time. Ensuring federal, state, and local investments in these systems are coordinated and foster sustainable communities will provide more transportation choices, reduce vehicle miles traveled, and protect air and water quality. Therefore, the United States is pursuing a place-based initiative to develop policies that could help support and shape State and local land use decisions and infrastructure investments to this end.
We invite and encourage further dialogue here at CSD to exchange experiences in integrating transportation into sustainable community planning and to broaden our understanding of adapting such planning to national, regional, and local circumstances. In 2009, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of Transportation (DOT), and the Environmental Protection Agency announced an interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities to help families in all communities ¨C- rural, suburban and urban ¨C gain better access to affordable housing, more transportation options, and lower transportation costs, while protecting the environment in communities nationwide. This place-based initiative is about tying the quality and location of transportation facilities to broader opportunities such as access to good jobs, affordable housing, quality schools, and safe streets. By focusing on the relationship between transportation demand and the built environment, we will lower environmental impacts from the transportation sector and water infrastructure, while also saving households¡¯ money and improving regional economies. By targeting federal funding toward existing communities¡ªthrough strategies like transit-oriented mixed-use development and land recycling¡ªthe partnership will increase community revitalization, improve the efficiency of public works investments, and safeguard rural landscapes. The partnership also works to achieve critical environmental justice goals by targeting development to locations that already have infrastructure and offer transportation choices.
We highlight that our Federal Agencies work closely together to identify opportunities to coordinate programs and encourage location efficiency in housing and transportation choices, and to share information and review processes to facilitate better-informed decisions and coordinate investments. The Partnership for Sustainable Communities has worked to assure that its programs maximize the benefits of combined investments in our communities for livability, affordability, environmental excellence, and the promotion of green jobs of the future. For example, DOT and HUD joined forces to award funding for planning activities that lead to projects on transportation integration, housing and economic development. This joint notice of funding availability creates one point of entry for requesting federal resources..HUD has also launched a sizable Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant program, designed to create stronger, more sustainable communities by connecting housing to jobs, fostering local innovation and building a clean energy economy. The grant applications were reviewed by HUD, DOT, and EPA. The grants were awarded competitively to multi-jurisdictional, multi-sector partnerships and regional consortia consisting of state and local governments, metropolitan planning organizations, educational institutions, non-profit organizations and philanthropic organizations and are now under implementation.
Place-based strategies can also help relieve road congestion. The multilateral development banks are increasingly promoting urban planning and supporting sustainable transportation options that help reduce congestion, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and minimize storm water runoff. The Asian Development Bank's work in Manila and Jakarta provide good examples of how integrated transportation planning can deliver economic, social, and environmental benefits.
Public transportation programs is a key element in meeting the mobility and health needs of our elderly populations. The US currently dedicates funding in all 50 states to operate on-demand transportation services specifically designed to meet the mobility needs of older adults, as well as requiring transit systems to meet rigorous accessibility requirements. By locating housing for the elderly near shopping and recreation opportunities, they are able to remain in their communities for as long as possible if they choose to do so.
Federal agencies are also pursuing place-based policies that increase transportation options and build walkable, livable communities that meet the needs of Americans of all ages and abilities. We highlight the opportunity of transportation projects and programs that increase transportation choices and improve health and well-being, including the safety of women, by increasing the use and safety of walking and biking in urban and rural areas. DOT has focused on rural areas in the United States, funding projects that improve the safety of active transportation and increase opportunities for small towns and communities to create safer, healthier communities. The Safe Routes to School Program assists communities to make walking and bicycling to school safe and routine ¨C from building safer street crossings to establishing programs that encourage safe walking and biking to school. DOT¡¯s Transportation Enhancements program provides funding to expand transportation choices and enhance the transportation experience. States and regions have used this program to build and expand pedestrian/bicycle infrastructure and safety programs as well as implement scenic and historic highway programs, landscaping and scenic beautification, historic preservation, and environmental mitigation efforts.
As Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) was emphasized during CSD 18 as means to supply affordable, accessible, safe, and reliable transportation in developing countries, we look forward to learning from others¡¯ experiences, such as those of Columbia, South Africa, and China and generating ideas to continuing building on these experiences. We would like to take this opportunity highlight the recent advances in BRT here in New York City.
The system increases the frequency of buses on high ridership BRT corridors where buses arrive every five to ten minutes or more. BRT stops are spaced about every half a mile, and riders pay their fares at stations before boarding, reducing stop time. The system improves passenger comfort and convenience by featuring attractive shelters with seating and lighting and buses with low-floors and up to three doors, making boarding faster and more convenient. The results have been striking since the City and MTA¡¯s June 2008 launching of the city¡¯s first BRT (the Bx12 Select Bus Service (SBS)) on Fordham Road in the Bronx: travel times are down almost 20 percent, and ridership is up by over 5,000 passengers per day. Based on this success, the City and the MTA have begun planning a comprehensive BRT network, complementing and supplementing the existing bus and subway networks.
As many of our nation's transit, road, and highway infrastructure was constructed over the past century, the United States is increasingly focused on two priority areas: (1) systematic maintenance, repair, and (2) transportation safety. For example, the US DOT is currently spearheading a 'distracted driving' campaign that is raising awareness to end the dangerous practice of distracted driving on our nation¡¯s roadways.
Climate Adaptation
The United States is also working to understand and anticipate how climate change may affect transportation, examining the impact on transportation infrastructure over the short- and long-term, and integrating climate risk into transportation infrastructure planning in order to safeguard investments against extreme weather and longer-term changes in climate conditions. The U.S. is working to incorporate adaptation principles into federal strategic planning and encourage them in state and local funding programs.