Washington State Ranks 5th in Commitment to Green Transportation

When a state says "they are committed to going green" or being a leader in the green movement, the question one should ask:  What evidence do they have to show such a commitment?  In particular, there is of course a difference between a state saying they are committed and actually showing their commitment with demonstrated initiatives and goals.  Washington State has demonstrated their commitment to green transportation initiatives as evidenced by a study done by the Smart Growth America organization.

In particular, Washington State, according to Smart Growth America, "ranks fifth among all states in terms of its commitment to reducing emissions from tansportation, behind California, Maryland, New Jersey, and Connecticut."  The next question is naturally what metrics are used and what specifically demonstrates their commitment.  After all, "the devil is in the details," an adage often used to describe many things in society, but is particularly apt when deciding whether this study's conclusion holds water or not.

The study done by Smart Growth America does a good job explaining why Washington State ranks 5th in its green transportation commitment by explaining "Washington scored so well, in part, because the state legislature adopted a goal of reducing vehicle miles traveled 80 percent by 2050 and because of our Growth Management Act, which promotes dense development inside urban growth boundaries and protects farms and rural areas."  In essence, better site design that encourages less driving is certainly good for the environment in terms of reducing carbon dioxide emissions and for the productivity of the economy as less time spent in traffic is likely more productive time where work and other things can more easily get done.

Thus, the study done by Smart Growth America showcases how states should demonstrates their commitment to reducing driving as much as possible through better urban and town planning practices.  A truly green commitment, therefore, in the U.S. begins with state legislatures recognizing the benefits of less time spent on the highway.  Washington State, therefore, is truly an innovative state like California because it recognizes that going green means looking holistically at where 1/3rd of all carbon dioxide emissions come from in the U.S.--the transportation sector.

Whether Washington State can live up to the commitment of reducing vehicle miles traveled by 80% by 2050 is anyone's guess and currently remains unknown.  What counts, however, is that Washington State has taken the first step toward a green transportation system--making a commitment to reducing the amount of cars traveled throughout the state.  Right now, it has been enacted by the state legislature and hopefully that commitment can be fulfilled in actual everyday practice in the days, weeks, and in this case many years ahead.

Photo Credit:  Arpingstone