Sustainable Freight Transport Initiative

This page last reviewed June 13, 2013

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ARB is guiding an effort to develop a Sustainable Freight Transport Initiative that will outline the needs and steps to transform California’s freight transport system to one that is more efficient and sustainable. This strategy will be a collaborative effort with key partners in the fields of air quality, transportation and energy.  The goals of the strategy include:
  • Move goods more efficiently and with zero/near-zero emissions; 
  • Transition to cleaner, renewable transportation energy sources; 
  • Provide reliable velocity and expanded system capacity; 
  • Integrate with national and international freight transportation system; and 
  • Support healthy, livable communities.
Port imageThis effort builds upon ARB air quality planning and modeling work that has shown the growing contribution of emissions from freight related sources and the need to transition to zero- and near-zero emission technologies over the next several decades.  This transition will likely need to include widespread use of alternative transportation fuels such as grid-based electricity, hydrogen, and renewable fuels which will have significant impacts for energy providers in California.   

ARBs Sustainable Freight Transport Initiative will complement other planning efforts at the State and local level, such as the California Department of Transportation's (Caltrans) California Transportation Plan 2040 (CTP 2040) and regional transportation plans and land use visions.  

Recent Events

  • On April 10-11, 2013, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, along with ARB, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and other partners, held the Transitioning to Zero-Emission Freight Transport Technologies Symposium aimed at evaluating zero- and near-zero emission technologies for transforming freight transport in California.
  • On April 19th, April 26th, and May 10th, 2013, the UC Davis Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and the Economy (Policy Institute) hosted a policy forum series on freight - Delivering the Green: The Future of California’s Freight Transportation System.  The forum drew from the latest research to explore some of the strategies to address the impacts of California’s freight and goods movement system on air quality, climate, and community health with researchers, policy-makers and practitioners, industry stakeholders, and other experts to inform better policy.

Other ARB Activities

Vision for Clean Air: A Framework for Air Quality and Climate Planning

In June 2012, a public review draft of Vision for Clean Air: A Framework for Air Quality and Climate Planning was released by staff of the Air Resources Board, the South Coast Air Qualilty Management District and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. This joint agency effort takes a coordinated look at strategies, with a focus on mobile sources and associated energy production, needed to meet California's multiple air quality and climate goals well into the future.  

Goods Movement Action Plan

On January 11, 2007 the state Business, Transportation and Housing Agency (BTH) and the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) jointly released the Goods Movement Action Plan (GMAP), which outlinesd a comprehensive strategy to address the economic and environmental issues associated with moving goods via the state’s highways, railways and ports.

Additional Information

California Department of Transportation

  • California Interregional Blueprint is a state-level transportation blueprint that articulates the State's vision for an integrated multimodal transportation system that complements regional transportation plans and land use visions (Caltrans CTP 2040 Fact Sheet, 2013). 
  • The California Transportation Plan (CTP) is a statewide, long-range transportation plan to meet future mobility needs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions prepared in response to Federal and State requirements and updated every five years. Caltrans is currently developing CTP 2040, which was initiated with the development of the California Interregional Blueprint in early 2010. Several state-level modal plans filter into the CTP, including:

U.S. Department of Transportation - MAP 21

MAP-21, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, was signed into law by President Obama on July 6, 2012. Funding surface transportation programs at over $105 billion for fiscal years (FY) 2013 and 2014, MAP-21 is the first long-term highway authorization enacted since 2005. MAP-21 includes a number of specific freight provisions to improve the condition and performance of the national freight network and support investment in freight-related surface transportation projects.    

Southern California Association of Governments Regional Transportation Plan

On April 4, 2012, the Regional Council of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) adopted the 2012-2035 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (RTP/SCS): Towards a Sustainable Future. The RTP is a long-range transportation plan that is developed and updated by SCAG every four years. The RTP provides a vision for transportation investments throughout the region including a detailed review of the the regional goods movement system contained in the Goods Movement Appendix.  

California State University Long Beach Center for International Trade and Transportation

The Center for International Trade and Transportation (CITT) is a University-approved, multidisciplinary center for multimodal transportation studies and integrated logistics research, education, training, and policy analysis, as well as community outreach.

Environmental Defense Fund’s work on Supply Chain Logistics and Strategies for Cleaner Freight

To receive electronic notices of future meetings and availability of materials, please sign up for our listserve on the Sustainable Freight Transport Initiative. 


For more information on ARBs Sustainable Freight Transport Initiative, please contact Karen Buckley, Manager Sustainable Freight Section at (916) 322-8474.