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Release date: 4/28/11

*** Press Release ***

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees all surface transportation in the City, including the Municipal Railway (Muni), this month released the draft Climate Action Strategy (CAS) and has called for public comment on the plan that once finalized will be part of the San Francisco Climate Action Plan. The SFMTA’s CAS proposes six interdependent strategies to substantially reduce citywide transportation carbon emissions as called for in Proposition A, which was passed by San Francisco voters in 2007. The strategies include transportation sector policies and programs needed to meet the City’s greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goal of 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

For a full copy of the SFMTA CAS report or to comment on the SFMTA’s climate planning, please visit

“We will seek broad support for the SFMTA programs, goals, and investment strategies to help reduce overall carbon emissions while creating a more livable city,” said Tom Nolan, Chairman of the Board of Directors. “The proposed strategies are part of a comprehensive solution that the City needs to reach its ambitious GHG reduction goal.”

“This is going to be a collaborative effort. No one agency or individual can do this alone,” said Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., SFMTA Executive Director/CEO. “With projects like SFpark, the world’s first demand parking pricing project, the growing success of our Bicycle Plan projects, the greening of our taxi fleet and the planned improvements from the Transit Effectiveness Project, we know the challenges that lie ahead and we’re ready to lead the way.”

The CAS creates the foundation for a financially, environmentally, and socially sustainable transportation system. Billions of dollars are spent in San Francisco on mobility needs; transitioning into a sustainable transport system will save money and resources, mitigate climate change and build the foundation for a low-carbon future.

The SFMTA is coordinating the City’s plan to reduce transportation emissions in order to reach the City’s GHG reduction goal. Muni vehicles account for only one percent of the City’s GHG emissions, and they already comprise one of the cleanest multimodal transportation systems in the world since more than half of them are powered hydroelectrically. Therefore, even with a carbon-neutral SFMTA and Muni, the City’s transportation sector GHG goals could not be achieved. The City needs community-wide solutions. The SFMTA CAS presents a clear plan for mitigating the impact of all transportation in the City by identifying tangible next steps and long-term solutions for all users of the transportation system including government, business, the community and individuals.

The SFMTA CAS will link the City’s climate planning work with City and regional transportation investment plans, including the Agency’s own capital and strategic planning, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority’s Transportation Plan and the Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy.

SFMTA staff in the Sustainable Streets Division worked closely with both international experts and local partners to conduct a detailed review of low-carbon transportation GHG reduction measures, which helped determine the specific package of six strategies that are the centerpiece of the CAS. These six strategies were further grouped into two categories as outlined below:

  • Travel Demand Management:
    • Strategy 1: Travel Choice and Information
    • Strategy 2: Demand Pricing
    • Strategy 3: Transit-Oriented Development (TOD)
  • Infrastructure Support:
    • Strategy 4: Transit Improvements
    • Strategy 5: Complete Streets
    • Strategy 6: Electric Vehicles

For each of the six strategies, the SFMTA assessed the GHG reduction potential, potential costs to the public and private sectors, impact on transit system demand, and overall potential effectiveness. When combined, the six strategies will help reduce half of the GHG emissions from the transportation system with the remainder made up from the growth in low-carbon and electric vehicles.

The CAS is a living document that will be refined and updated every two years as more data becomes available from existing and future pilot projects. The SFMTA Board of Directors will hear a follow-up report in 12 to 18 months that will include public feedback on this draft of the CAS.

Leading by Example

As a City department, the SFMTA also submits a similar report each year on how it has reduced its own carbon footprint. The SFMTA has been leading the way with one of the greenest transit systems in the world and is on track to meet its 2012 goals of 20 percent below 1990 levels. Currently, the Agency is at 21 percent and is pushing for greater emission reductions.

A national leader in innovation, the SFMTA has already qualified for a Gold rating from the American Public Transportation Association’s Sustainability Commitment Program. This program certifies transit agencies based on their green practices including energy, water and waste efficiency and broader sustainable policies linking land-use with transit, walking and bicycling, similar to the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating Systems.

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