Date of Graduation

Winter 12-16-2022

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)


College of Arts and Sciences


Environmental Management

First Advisor

Amalia Kokkinaki, Ph.D.


Emissions from California’s transportation sector contribute to global climate change and impact local air quality and public health. Forty-one percent of California’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 were from transportation. Transportation emissions are also a source of many health-harming air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, and particulate matter. Disadvantaged communities in California experience disproportionate impacts from transportation emissions and suffer worse health effects, including higher incidences of asthma, cardiovascular disease, and premature death. Cities have led the way in policymaking to mitigate and adapt to climate change, including creating Climate Action Plans (CAPs) to propose strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Many of these plans acknowledge that considering equity in climate action planning is essential, but no protocol exists to ensure that equity goals are being met. This work examines equity in climate action planning through a detailed case study analysis, a framework and equity analysis, and a comparative analysis to determine how an equity focus affects the transportation emission reduction strategies proposed in CAPs. The research determined that there are substantial co-benefits to transportation emission reduction, including reduction in air pollution concentrations and improved public health. This work also found that cities that prioritized equity attempted to address underlying socioeconomic vulnerabilities simultaneously with emissions reduction efforts, and prioritized extensive, community-led engagement efforts that encouraged participation through the design and implementation of the CAP. Finally, this work makes recommendations for steps that city planners can take to facilitate the creation of more equitable transportation emission reduction strategies.