Transportation &

Land Use

The majority of greenhouse gas emissions from transportation result from the combustion of fossil fuel-based products, like gasoline, in internal combustion engines. Driving passenger cars, light-duty trucks such as pickup trucks and vans, and medium/heavy-duty trucks such as freight trucks and commercial vehicles are the largest sources of transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions.

Key Sector Targets

Strategies and Actions

Strategy: Set land use policies that support increased density and efficient transportation networks.

Making our cities and neighborhoods more vibrant, creating a robust economy, and reducing development pressure on environmentally sensitive areas will help us reduce transportation emissions. This strategy aims to improve the viability of transit and make it safer and easier to get around without a car. 

Actions Assessed in the Plan:

  • Coordinated long term planning- future infill. Coordinate long-term plans with transit agencies to project where increased density would support more transit corridors. Then change zoning/density that would support new transit corridors and variety of household incomes. Promote long-term equity and healthy communities by developing incentives such as density bonuses for development where a percentage of the units will be permanently affordable for household incomes.

  • Middle-density housing. Reevaluate and change zoning as needed to allow for a range of housing types to promote social economic integration of housing near the region's urban centers or moderate-density zones. Promote long-term equity and healthy communities by developing incentives such as density bonuses for development where a percentage of the units will be permanently affordable for household incomes that can no longer afford to live in these areas.

  • Eco districts. Identify potential Eco districts to advance innovative district-scale urban development, sustainability, and neighborhood equity. Then make necessary code/zoning changes to support their development and set ambitious performance outcomes to ensure their long-term success.

  • 20-minute neighborhoods. Increase the number of 20-minute neighborhoods (walkable environment, destinations that support a range of basic living needs and a residential density). Identify key infrastructure components needed to grow the number of 20-minute neighborhoods, then change zoning and codes if needed and coordinate with other jurisdictions to make public investments where necessary.

  • ADUs. Amend development codes to allow for attached and detached ADU's in urban residential areas.

  • Land use efficiency. Set integrated goals to consider network efficiency in land use decisions, including how density in certain areas supports transit, increases efficiency of utility service, and other support facilities. Consider VMT in identifying locations for large employment facilities.

Strategy: Increase efficiency of the transportation system.

Actions that improve congestion on our roads, either through investments in transportation infrastructure or by reducing the number of people driving, will reduce emissions while also improving the ability of people and goods to get where they need to go.

Actions Assessed in the Plan:

  • Congestion mitigation. Develop congestion mitigation programs to increase transportation efficiency, reduce delay, and reduce emissions such as signalization coordination improvements along with application of speed harmonization techniques (ex. reevaluate speed limits, roundabouts vs signalized intersection, street connectivity). Added benefits are decrease idling time (pollution) and improve fuel efficiency (cost savings to driver).

  • Vehicle efficiency outreach. Develop educational campaigns about benefits (reduced GHG emission, increase fuel efficiency, safety) of properly inflated tires, including signage at gas stations and local businesses and partnering with schools.

  • Teleworking/flex work. Government agencies increase opportunities for employee teleworking options and staggering workdays to reduce employees driving during peak traffic times.

  • Telecommuting infrastructure. Develop grants and provide financial resources for installation of infrastructure necessary to support telecommuting.

Strategy: Increase adoption of electric vehicles. 

Once our energy grid becomes powered by renewables, vehicles powered by gas and diesel will become Thurston’s greatest local source of emissions. This strategy will help set the stage for greater local adoption of EVs by reducing technical and economic barriers.

Actions Assessed in the Plan:

  • EV parking new construction. Require large commercial and residential buildings to dedicate a percentage of parking spots for electric vehicle charging.

  • Free EV parking. Allow free parking for all electric vehicles at local government buildings and in city centers to encourage the adoption of all electric vehicles. Increase cost of parking for Non-EV vehicles.

  • EV-ready building code. Require all new residential construction be built EV-ready. Create a simple and consistent residential charging station permitting process to reduce costs and time to development.

  • EV integration. Reevaluate regulations and make necessary changes to ensure charging stations are able to be permitted in locations where they are needed.

  • Convert to EV fleets. Set policies and timetable for electrification of municipal and other governmental fleets. Require replacement of public fleets with cleaner, energy-efficient vehicles to reduce long term fuel costs, improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

  • EV education. Partner with environmental and other agencies to increase consumer awareness about EV options and incentives for use and purchase.

  • EV mass purchase discounts. Create a group purchase program for residents to get deep discounts on EVs, other fuel efficient and alternative fuel vehicles.

  • EV purchase incentives. Partner with car sale and lease dealerships to provide incentives for purchase of electric vehicles by Thurston County residents. Pilot with those neighborhoods, individuals with greatest VMT potential.

Strategy: Increase the use of public transit.

Increasing the use of public transit services connects people with jobs, school, healthcare, and community services in ways that are more carbon efficient than driving alone.

Actions Assessed in the Plan:

  • Increase transit. Increase local public transit routes/frequency with a focus on expanding transit service before and after traditional business hours and on weekends.

  • Rural transit. Identify and implement first/last mile solutions for rural ridership (engage rural homeowners associations for representation and feedback). Present this plan to TRPC with direction to explore pilot programs and secure funding sources.

  • Fareless system/youth ride free. Develop a fareless system for public transit.

  • Rider education/benefits. Maintain and expand a regional online page that lists all the mode shift education efforts and employer benefits opportunities (Thurston Here-To-There). Include a comments section for suggestions to further transit education and ridership.

  • Promote transit benefits. Work with employers and transit agencies to develop ways to incentivize employee ridership (ex. rebates for employees who give up use of employer parking facilities).

Strategy: Increase use of active forms of travel (such as, bicycling, walking).

Making it easier for people to walk and bike for typical errands, rather than driving a car, will help reduce emissions while also supporting our regional goals and improve public health. This strategy aims to address gaps and barriers in our current network.

Actions Assessed in the Plan:

  • Walk/bike infrastructure. Coordinate cities of Thurston Counties Master Bicycle and Pedestrian plans into a large regional plan to expand walking and biking infrastructure, including separated and protected opportunities. Coordinate efforts to maximize funding mechanisms and opportunities.

  • Barriers to active transportation. Develop a regional inventory to identify gaps in connectivity for safe cycling and walking. Then develop a strategy to prioritize projects and a plan for funding.

  • School drop-off alternative modes. Maintain and expand a walking/biking incentive program with safety education for families.

  • Car-free zones. Reevaluate long term plans and update to prioritize pedestrians and people riding bikes. Set goals for mode shift and plans on how to achieve those goals like developing car-free corridors in commercial and mixed-use areas to encourage mode shift.

What You Can Do

The plan will lead directly to projects and resources spent in your community. Here’s how you can help determine which projects we undertake and where we should focus our resources: 

  • Take the Survey by clicking the “Share Your Feedback” tab above.

  • Read the Plan and get all the details in the full document.

  • Sign Up for updates via 

  • Email comments to the project manager at  

  • Call the project manager at the Thurston Regional Planning Council at 360-956-7575.  

  • Ask Questions and tell us what you think about the draft Thurston Climate Mitigation Plan.

© 2023 by ITG. Proudly created with