Evaluating Benefits from Transportation Investments Aligned with the Climate Action Plan for Transportation Infrastructure (CAPTI)

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Evaluating Benefits from Transportation Investments aligned with the Climate Action Plan for Transportation Infrastructure (CAPTI)


Building upon two executive orders targeting the mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in California, the Climate Action Plan for Transportation Infrastructure (CAPTI) offers a comprehensive plan to work toward a more unified vision for transportation that prioritizes climate, health, and social equity. The purpose of this project was to help evaluate the benefits from transportation investments across the State of California. With support from Caltrans, the research team provided a holistic evaluation framework that involved an analysis of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and emissions impacts, an economic impact analysis, and an equity analysis of transportation investments in California. Findings indicate that CAPTI has generally had a positive impact on California communities by helping align transportation investments with the state’s climate and equity goals while continuing to generate significant economic activity through investments in transportation infrastructure. Decarbonizing transportation is an ambitious, yet achievable goal that requires a strong emphasis on alternative transportation modes to make transit and active transportation more accessible and appealing than driving. California should continue investing in transportation infrastructure in a manner that is equitable and significantly reduces VMT and emissions while creating quality jobs and positive economic impacts.



Dr. Serena Alexander is an Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning and Director of Urban Online at San José State University. Her research predominantly focuses on developing and implementing cutting-edge strategies to address climate change and the environmental impacts of transportation. In 2022, Dr. Alexander joined the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Climate Change Center (CCC) and the Office of the Under Secretary as a Visiting Scholar, where she provides leadership and research on the development of policy centered around all major transportation issues, such as infrastructure development, climate, innovation, and equity. She has published several peer-reviewed journal articles and technical reports and presented her research at national and international conferences. She has also established the American Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) and Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP) collaboration platform, focusing on climate justice and best practices of climate action planning. Dr. Alexander has worked with many multidisciplinary teams and aims at bridging the gap between technical knowledge, policy decisions and community values. Before joining the SJSU faculty, Dr. Alexander conducted community economic development and environmental policy research at the Center for Economic Development and the Great Lakes Environmental Finance Center at Cleveland State University, where she also received her doctorate in Urban Studies (Specialization in Urban Policy and Development). She holds master’s degrees in Urban and Regional Planning from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and Architecture from Azad University of Tehran.


Dr. Shams Tanvir is an Assistant Professor in the California State University, Long Beach, Department of Civil Engineering and Construction Engineering Management. Dr. Tanvir conducts research and teaches in the area of sustainable mobility. His research aims at the development and characterization of transportation technologies that minimize energy consumption and emissions while enhancing mobility efficiency and equity. He chairs the Sustainable Transportation committee at the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Dr. Tanvir is a member of National Academies committees on Transportation Air Quality and GHG emissions, and Highway Capacity and Quality of Services.


Dr. T. William (Bill) Lester is a Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at San José State University. His research interests are broad within the field of urban and regional economic development, but generally focus on the role of social institutions and policy interventions in reducing income inequality and promoting balanced economic growth. He is also an expert in policy evaluation and economic impact analysis. Before joining SJSU, Dr. Lester spent 10 years at UNC-Chapel Hill. He received a PhD in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley (2009), a Masters of Urban Planning and Policy (MUPP) from the University of Illinois at Chicago (2001), and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania (1999).

December 2023
Climate action planning
Greenhouse gas emissions
Vehicle miles traveled (VMT)
Transportation infrastructure
Economic impact analysis



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