January 19, 2021

Governments

Illustration by Kathleen Fu

As Canada battles climate change, nothing is more important than reducing transportation emissions, which are second only to oil-and-gas extraction as a share of the country’s carbon footprint. And with millions of commuters burning gas while sitting in traffic, cities are at the centre of that challenge.

COVID-19′s unknown effect on long-term mobility patterns complicates matters. For instance, it’s difficult to confidently plan new public-transit lines when it’s anyone’s guess how many (and which) people currently working from home will return to commuting, and the number who will feel comfortable returning to crowded subways or buses rather than the safety of their own cars.

But one basic certainty is that, however much success cities have in seizing the current window to improve pedestrian and bicycle options, there will still be lots of motorized vehicles on the roads. So one surefire way to curb the greenhouse gases being spewed is to transition as many cars, buses and trucks as possible to electric models, rather than those that run on fossil fuels.

Story continues below advertisement

As federal and provincial governments start to spread around stimulus funds, and municipalities change regulations to adapt to new realities, there are a few key ways that they could help cities electrify transportation, with some economic and lifestyle benefits atop the environmental ones.

NO DRIVEWAY, NO PROBLEM

One of the bigger obstacles to uptake of electric vehicles is that many urban dwellers who might otherwise be early adopters are “garage orphans.” That means they can’t easily charge EV batteries at home, either because they live in houses without driveways, or because they’re in condominium or apartment buildings that don’t have enough (or any) charging stations in their parking lots.

The good news is that the hurdle is very much surmountable. Jeff Turner, a researcher with Dunsky Energy Consulting who advises various municipalities on this challenge, highlighted a combination of policy tools to help overcome it.

For apartments and condos, an easy start is to follow the lead of cities in British Columbia (including Vancouver and Richmond) by changing building codes to require that new buildings have plug-in capacity in many or all parking spots. Older buildings are more of a challenge, but could be helped along with some of the energy retrofitting funding that governments are expected to roll out to help spur a green economic recovery.

When it comes to houses, discussion sometimes gets bogged down in a debate about whether to change zoning laws to make it easier for homeowners without driveways to build parking pads. But there are other, less contentious ways to address it.

Among those are curbside charging stations, perhaps attached to utility poles, in neighbourhoods where many residents rely on street parking.

Another, possibly more scalable approach is to provide garage orphans with opportunities away from home. Mr. Turner suggests that one of the most promising ones is for governments to build or provide incentives for fast-charging hubs that replicate gas stations. With the technology reaching

…...

The Regional Transportation Council is the independent transportation policy body of the Metropolitan Planning Organization.  The RTC meets the second Thursday of each month, and the RTC’s 44 members include local elected or appointed officials from the metropolitan area and representatives from each of the area’s transportation providers.  The RTC oversees the metropolitan transportation planning process.

Primary activities:

  • Guiding the development of multimodal transportation plans and programs.
  • Determining the allocation of federal, state and regional transportation funds.
  • Selecting transportation projects in some programs and recommending projects to the Texas Transportation Commission for other programs.
  • Ensuring transportation providers coordinate services.
  • Ensuring the metropolitan area complies with state and federal laws and regulations regarding transportation and air quality.

 

 

 




Next Meeting Date


May 14, 2020 – 1:00 PM

Regional Transportation Council



April 9

This meeting was conducted as a telephonic/audio meeting.


March

Transportation Council Room

NCTCOG

616 Six Flags Drive

Arlington, TX  76011


February

Transportation Council Room

NCTCOG

616 Six Flags Drive

Arlington, TX  76011


January

Transportation Council Room

NCTCOG

616 Six Flags Drive

Arlington, TX  76011


December 12

Transportation Council Room

NCTCOG

616 Six Flags Drive

Arlington, TX 76011


November 14

Transportation Council Room

NCTCOG

616 Six Flags Drive

Arlington, TX 76011

 


October 10

Transportation Council Room

NCTCOG

616 Six Flags Drive

Arlington, TX 76011


September 12

Transportation Investment Summit

Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas

Room G1, 4th Floor

500 W. Las Colinas Blvd.

Irving, TX 75039

 


August 8

Cancelled

Cancelled

Cancelled


July 11

Transportation Council Room

NCTCOG

616 Six Flags Drive

Arlington, TX 76011


June 13

Transportation Council Room

NCTCOG

616 Six Flags Drive

Arlington, TX 76011


May 9

Transportation Council Room

NCTCOG

616 Six Flags Drive

Arlington, TX 76011


April 11

Transportation Council Room

NCTCOG

616 Six Flags Drive

Arlington, TX 76011


March 14

Transportation Council Room

NCTCOG

616 Six Flags Drive

Arlington, TX 76011


February 14

Transportation Council Room

NCTCOG

616 Six Flags Drive

Arlington, TX 76011


January 10

Transportation Council Room

NCTCOG

616 Six Flags Drive

Arlington, TX 76011


December 13

Transportation Council Room

NCTCOG

616 Six Flags Drive

Arlington, TX 76011


November 8

Transportation Council Room

NCTCOG

616 Six Flags Drive

Arlington, TX 76011


October 11

Transportation Council Room

NCTCOG

616 Six Flags Drive

Arlington, TX 76011


September 13

NCTCOG

616 Six Flags Drive

Arlington, TX 76011


August 9

Transportation Council Room

…...