The Climate Trust and the City of Portland, Oregon, have been presented with the inaugural ITS America Smart Solution Spotlight award in recognition of the collaborative use of ITS to improve traffic congestion and air quality. ITS America is a leading voice of vehicle and infrastructure innovation and its Smart Solution Spotlight celebrates creative ways to reduce traffic congestion costs and carbon emissions. The new award aims to highlight the coming revolution where vehicles and infrastructure are all connected, to create a safe, smart, clean and efficient transportation system.
In December 2002, The Climate Trust, a Portland-based nonprofit that specializes in local climate solutions for governments, large businesses and utilities, contracted to buy carbon credits from a Portland project designed to improve the timing of traffic signals at congested intersections. During the next five years, the Portland Bureau of Transportation spearheaded the project to improve traffic signal timing at 17 major arterials, including some of the city’s most congested thoroughfares. The city’s program costs were covered through a pay-for-performance contract with The Climate Trust, under which the nonprofit organization paid the city based on the amount of CO2 emissions that are saved through the traffic signal optimization project. The city then transferred ownership of the CO2 credits from the project’s reduced emissions to The Climate Trust, which retired the credits.
By retiming the designated traffic signals, DKS Associates, a national transportation planning and engineering firm, significantly improved the traffic flow in the 17 intersections, reducing congestion and the amount of wasted fuel and CO2 emissions. By October 2008, less than six years into the project, more than 157,000 metric tons of CO2 were verified by Kittelson & Associates Inc, a transportation planning, engineering and research firm. The carbon credits were then retired, not sold, by The Climate Trust. Eliminating this amount of CO2 is equivalent to removing more than 30,000 passenger vehicles off the road for an entire year, or of removing the emissions generated from burning 17.7 million gallons of gasoline. Because of the improvements in traffic flow and emissions reductions, the contract was extended through to December 31st, 2012, with the goal of reducing an additional 21,000 metric tons of CO2.
15 February 2010
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