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News | Feb. 23, 2024

Sustainable Defense Travel – Travel Green on your next Official Trip

To support the goals in President Biden’s Executive Order 14057 of December 8, 2021, Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs through Federal Sustainability, the White House has issued instructions that direct Federal agencies to prioritize the use of sustainable transportation for official travel. The December 14, 2023 Memorandum [PDF, 6 pages] provides guidance to agencies to make the use of sustainable transportation easier to access and book, consistent with agency missions and fiscal responsibility.

While current policy directs travelers to select modes of transportation that are advantageous to the Government, the Joint Travel Regulations (JTR) will be updated to clarify the implementation of this new guidance. DoD components and staff can take certain steps to make an immediate impact when on official travel (TDY) and support current policy:

  1. Assess your need to travel.

A virtual meeting may be able to provide a more cost-effective and environmentally-friendly alternative to traveling for an on-site meeting.

  1. Combine trips when possible and geographically reasonable.

When the mission takes you to multiple/consecutive TDY points, consider taking a single trip with multiple legs. This may create a smaller carbon footprint than returning to your official duty station between trips to each destination.

  1. Choose public transportation over automobiles.

When possible, use public transportation for official local travel and limit the use of rental vehicles when on TDY. Consider walking, carpooling, or using local public transportation, like buses or metro trains, instead. Use the map app on your smartphone to find the quickest public transportation route to your destination.

  1. Take the train. 

Interstate and commuter rail options should be prioritized over air travel or use of personal vehicle (POV) for travel under 250 miles when cost-effective and available.

  1. Personally owned vehicles (POVs)

Updated Joint Travel Regulations policy (section 020210, Table 2-10 and 2-11) states that a POV will no longer be automatically considered advantageous if the trip is 400 miles or less one way and that all commercial travel options must be considered before a POV is authorized.

  1. Choose zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) over other automobiles when cost effective.

Use of zero emission vehicles is encouraged when the daily rate is equal to or less than the daily rental rate of the least expensive compact car available.

For more information on this initiative, see the White House Briefing Room Fact Sheet.