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Bike Week Cyclists MassDOT today launched GreenDOT, a comprehensive environmental responsibility and sustainability initiative that will make MassDOT a national leader in “greening” the state transportation system. GreenDOT will be driven by three primary goals:  reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; promote the healthy transportation options of walking, bicycling, and public transit; and support smart growth development.

GreenDOT calls for MassDOT to incorporate sustainability into all of its activities, from strategic planning to project design and construction to system operation.  The initiative includes greenhouse gas reduction targets mandated under the Global Warming Solutions Act, signed by Governor Patrick in 2008. This law requires an economy-wide 2020 emissions reduction mandate of between 10 and 25 percent by January 1, 2011, the first step toward a required 80 percent reduction by 2050. The transportation sector generates more than one-third of the total greenhouse gas emissions produced in Massachusetts.

GreenDOT sets a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions over 2 million tons by 2020, a reduction of about 7.3 percent below 1990 transportation sector emission levels. If left unchecked, 2020 transportation emissions would increase by 19.0 percent over 1990 levels.  Instead, the GreenDOT initiative, combined with other state and federal government policies, is expected to reduce 2020 transportation emissions by almost 30 percent below this “business as usual” level.

The GreenDOT initiative will achieve the greenhouse gas reductions through a range of measures. In cooperation with regional planning agencies, MassDOT will set statewide greenhouse gas reduction targets, and meet these targets by balancing highway system expansion projects with other projects that support smart growth development and promote public transit, walking and bicycling.  Example include transit and rail projects, complete streets planning that includes bicycle and pedestrian accommodations, and investments in greener, more efficient fleet vehicles and renewable power.

GreenDOT was designed in response to several existing state laws, Executive Orders, and MassDOT policies. These include the 2009 Transportation Reform Law that created MassDOT and established the Healthy Transportation Compact that promotes improved public health through active transportation; the Global Warming Solutions Act, which calls for measurable and enforceable economy-wide greenhouse gas reductions; and MassDOT’s Complete Streets design approach that calls for appropriate accommodation of all transportation system users.

Photo Credit:  Natalia McKittrick, Pedal Power Photography, 2010

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