Strategic Energy Action Plan

Action Area 8: Facilitate Rapid Uptake Of Sustainable Modes Of Transportation

The transportation sector is the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Charlotte. This is primarily due to the structure of the economy, the efficiency of the vehicles, and the availability of alternative transportation options. This also considers the emissions from Charlotte Douglas International Airport, which is one of the busiest airports in the USA and is a hub for American Airlines.

In order to reduce emissions from the transportation sector there needs to be focused efforts:

  • Change how people move about

  • Improve efficiency in vehicles (whether technological or behavioral)

  • Change the fuels that are being used by the vehicles

  • Make the last mile of a person’s journey zero carbon

  • Provide the new infrastructure required to support alternative modes of transportation

  • Change the existing transportation infrastructure to support a range of transportation choices

Fundamental to the transition to a zero carbon energy transportation future is the infrastructure to support it. This comes with a series of complex issues that need to be resolved. Some of these challenges include where to locate the charging points, how many charging points are required, what type of charging point is needed, how to connect electricity infrastructure to support the charging points, how charging points can be incorporated into older buildings, how to make provisions for charging points in new buildings, how to procure zero carbon electricity to support electric vehicle growth, and how to design the system so that peak demand is controlled.

There are also opportunities for external companies providing services in the form of short-term rental bikes, scooters, and similar. These latter options have become more possible with the advancement of technology and help to address last mile transportation challenges.

Air transportation is likely to remain the area that is hardest to mitigate. This means that a sizeable chunk of the 2tCO2e target will be absorbed by aviation in the future. This also means that other sectors will likely need to reduce by more to accommodate this industry, moving forward.

Task 1: Form a Transportation Working Group in FY19

CREDIT will not be able to deliver a sustainable transportation system on its own; it will need to rely on developing key partnerships to support implementation. It is therefore recommended to set up a working group specializing in getting to a sustainable future transportation system. This group will need to comprise experts from academia, construction, planning, energy systems, and infrastructure to inform and direct it. To achieve such a future will require, according to the scenarios produced, a system built largely on electricity.

Task 2: Develop a Promotion and Awareness Campaign Around Electric Vehicles (EVs)

The challenges associated with EVs largely relate to their perceived reliability and technical abilities, i.e. the distance that they can go, where they can be charged, etc. As a result, continuous awareness

raising and education is required to support the rapid uptake of EVs. A large part of this will be visual and collaborative. One way to accomplish this is to locate charging stations in high foot traffic areas so that people see the EVs parked and charging out in public. This will need to align with the broader communication strategy of Action Area 2.

Step 1: Create a visible monthly event to educate the community around zero carbon modes of transportation

This may include activities such as closing N. Tryon St. for one day during the week to internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, with opportunities to test EVs.

Task 3: Deploy a Citywide EV Charging System for Charlotte by 2030

Facilitating the uptake of EVs requires a visible charging network. These chargers need to be located where people remember them, such as in retail outlets, in government buildings, and at work places. The EV network initially needs to be ahead of the vehicle fleet, but this will change in time. As an electric fleet has not been present before, it is difficult to know what the optimum number of chargers and locations precisely is. The charging system will need to grow with the number of vehicles that require it.

Step 1: CREDIT and transportation working group will produce an EV transportation deployment strategy and business case

This strategy may include a requirement to provide priority parking and/or free parking to electric vehicles in areas of high density, like Uptown or South End, and at transit sites with charging opportunities. The strategy can also explore the possibility of limiting access to certain roads to electric only vehicles at particular times and providing access to carpool lanes. The strategy may also make provisions for charging at particular locations such as restaurants and at places of work.

Step 2: Ensure sufficient capacity at all developments for electric vehicle infrastructure.

See Action Area 7, Task 3, Step 4.

Task 4: Increase Access to Zero Carbon Mobility Options

Getting people out of automobiles requires providing them with alternative transportation options, making areas more walkable, or providing an alternative that removes the transportation requirement.

Step 1: Create a taskforce to review and update policies that support rapid uptake of last mile modes of transit

The purpose of this taskforce is to target the ‘last mile,’ a specific but crucial element of transportation. The taskforce will need to include internal team members from CATS and CDOT, as well as community stakeholders to identify how this may be better addressed. Last mile modes of transit can include scooters and dock-less bikes.

Step 2: Actively support and further the work of CATS and transportation stakeholders to develop a series of campaigns to overcome negative perceptions of public transportation

This step should work with the communication aspects in Action Area 2 and specifically work with the Content Expert Advisory Group to identify how best to address this. Wider groups for engagement may include the hospitality industry, CMS, and CRVA, among others.

Step 3: Increase last mile opportunities at transit development sites

The development of new sites enables construction that encourages low carbon transportation options such as cycling and mass transportation. The existing planning needs to involve the existing corridors and see the implementation of the additional light rail lines.

Step 4: Develop app or platform that provides for one-stop purchase of tickets for all modes of transit available in Charlotte

The idea behind this is to extend the ticket to include rental of the scooters/bikes as part of the ticket purchase. A further extension could see pre-booking of electric vehicle parking in areas linked to light rail stops.

Task 5: Continue to Integrate Transportation Orientated Development (TOD) Policies into Land Use Policy Frameworks, Namely the Comprehensive Plan and UDO Update

TOD encourages the development of systems that decrease reliance on the automobile. Integrating such policies has long term implications for a downward pressure on transportation. The Comprehensive Plan will have far reaching implications for direct and indirect energy requirements and this should be part of it.

Step 1: Assign a person from CREDIT responsible for ensuring effective communication and alignment between the SEAP and the Comprehensive Plan update

The role of energy must be reinforced within the Comprehensive Plan to ensure that it is firmly integrated into it.