Our work

Transportation for all

The way we get around makes a difference for our health and our environment. Cars and trucks emit nearly 40% of Oregon’s climate pollution and more than one-half of Oregon’s air pollution. Runoff from streets and parking lots pollutes our water. Poorly planned roads lead to sprawl, which threatens Oregon’s forests and farms. Communities where residents can’t walk or bicycle safely have higher rates of chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer and heart disease. And many families struggle with the cost of transportation.

It’s time for an eco-friendly transportation system that supports clean air, climate stability, and healthy families living in economically vibrant neighborhoods. A system that provides everyone—including those too young, too old, too poor, or physically unable to drive—with equitable access to the places they need and want to go.

Oregonians deserve more transportation options
Wherever you live in Oregon, we believe you should have alternatives to how you get where you need to go. Transportation options are good for Oregon’s environment, good for our health, and good for our bottom line. Our work focuses on public transportation, including intercity connections; better infrastructure for bicycling and walking; and “complete communities,” or places where neighbors can easily access destinations like grocery stores, schools and parks, ideally within 20 minutes by foot or bicycle.

In 2017, Oregon Environmental Council helped secure a historic commitment to fund transportation options across the state. Since 1968, we’ve stood for groundbreaking policies to give Oregonians better access. And we support equitable transportation investments for Oregon’s future.

Find out more about Oregon's historic commitments to fund transportation options.

Clean and efficient vehicles

  • Electrification of cars, buses and trucks

    Electric vehicles (EVs) emit no greenhouse gases. Converting from gasoline and diesel to electricity means our communities will breathe cleaner air. Oregon Environmental Council promotes EVs and the infrastructure needed to support them.

    Find out more about electric vehicles.

  • Clean-up of old dirty diesel engines

    What will it take for Oregon to clean up diesel pollution? A health-based approach; investment in clean engines, including electrification; and local solutions to protect our residents.

    Find out more about dirty diesel.

  • Low-carbon fuels

    The Clean Fuels Standard launched January 2016. The Standard offers a brighter economic and environmental future for Oregon by offering drivers more options when they fuel up.

    Find out more low-carbon fuels.

  • Sustainable freight movement

    We must also move goods more efficiently. The freight sector accounts for 38% of transportation-related GHGs nationally. There are many opportunities to make goods movement more sustainable--not only through electrification--but also intelligent transportation systems (like freight signal priority) and collaborative logistics.

Smart management of infrastructure

Congestion in the Portland metropolitan area is not only a consternation, it has serious impacts on our quality of life, economy, health, and environment. The most effective and least expensive solution for reducing congestion is to put a price on road use during peak hours of the day, a policy called congestion pricing or value pricing.

This gives drivers an incentive to shift driving away from peak traffic periods, to carpool when they do drive during peak periods, or to use a different transportation mode. Reducing congestion will clean our air, reduce our carbon footprint, help drivers get more miles per gallon, keep our economy humming, reduce road rage, and eliminate the need for expensive new roads.

Find out more about congestion pricing.

Climate Smart Communities

As Oregon continues to grow, more people means more traffic. If we plan ahead, we can design communities so that people can move efficiently with the least infrastructure and energy costs.

If we don’t plan ahead, our health and environment are at risk. Oregon Environmental Council worked to pass state legislation that requires the Portland metro region—and encourages Oregon’s other major cities—to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. Oregon’s growing urban areas can do this by creating “Climate Smart Communities.”

Find out more about climate smart communities.

Emerging Transportation Technologies
Oregon Environmental Council is working to get ahead of changes and promote the shared use of emerging transportation technologies. Shared-use mobility isn’t a new concept. Its original form is public transit, which will always be the most efficient way to move large numbers of people.

Newer forms are bikesharing, carsharing, ridesharing, and most recently shared ridesourcing (e.g., Lyft Line and UberPOOL). As ridesourcing expands and autonomous vehicless hit the road, we must encourage shared use. These technologies and services could help us achieve our goals for a cleaner, safer, more equitable transportation system, or—if implemented haphazardly—they may instead trigger more traffic congestion, sprawl, pollution, and social inequities.

Find out more about transportation technologies.

Innovative stormwater infrastructure

When rain falls onto the hard surfaces of streets, sidewalks, parking lots and rooftops, it picks up pollutants in its path, gathering volume and speed until a storm drain pipes it underground or into a stream. Stormwater runoff causes water pollution, localized flooding, stream bank erosion, reduced groundwater levels, and habitat loss for fish and wildlife.

Since issuing a task force report called “Stormwater Solutions: Turning Oregon’s Rain Back into a Resource” in 2007, Oregon Environmental Council organized dozens of low impact development workshops and rain garden trainings around the state and produced a Western Oregon Low Impact Development Guide.

Find out more about stormwater management.