Climate change is a major threat to our way of life. Transportation accounts for 27 percent of our Nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. Air pollution and noise caused by traffic also affect the health and quality of life of Americans, particularly those near congested urban corridors.
Smart cities are leading the charge in the fight against climate change by shifting demand away from congested roadways to more sustainable modes and by making electric vehicles a practical, affordable option for more of their residents. Proposed strategies to increase the use of electric vehicles included:
- Supporting the use of electric vehicles by taxi and transportation network company (TNC) fleets.
- Converting public fleets, such as garbage trucks, buses and police cars, to electric vehicles.
- Subsidizing the purchase and use of electric vehicles through tax exemptions, energy credits, and bulk buy and loan programs.
- Installing electric vehicle charging stations.
Pittsburgh plans to convert 36,365 street lights to LED technology, providing an energy saving of 60 percent.
Portland will install stationary wireless inductive charging devices as part of a commercial pilot. Because the technology is wireless, drivers will be able to recharge electric vehicles by hovering over a charging coil or selecting routes with infrastructure that can refill their car’s battery as they drive. This technology will be used to charge semi-autonomous electrified shuttles on circulator routes that link lower-density neighborhoods and employment areas to high-frequency transit lines.
Electric Vehicle Fleets and Infrastructure
Each finalist proposed policies to encourage the electrification of municipal and transit fleets. For example, Austin planned to work with taxi and transportation network companies to support the conversion of private fleets to electric vehicles. Many of the finalists also proposed to install charging stations, led by Denver’s proposal, which included the installation of a network of 120 charging stations.