Tuesday, November 2, 2010

strange word choice

A massive FHWA report released in April suggests strategies for reducing transportation-related GHG emissions along with a technical appendix. One of the options is titled "reduce carbon-intensive travel activity." Why only "carbon-intensive" travel activity. Why not just travel activity? The methods that they list yield substantial benefits regardless of the carbon intensity of the mode ("reducing the need for travel [and] increasing vehicle occupancies"). It's just a framing question then, I suppose: thinking about reducing travel demand as only or mostly applying to high carbon modes makes us feel good that we don't need to actually change our behavior. It's almost like painting over VMT reductions with a technology brush.