On June 26, the US Department of Energy’s Clean Cities coalitions in the Triangle and Charlotte regions of NC along with the Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster hosted an engaging webinar featuring national thought leaders from the public and private sectors. Speakers, including those from the Triangle Clean Cities and Centralina Clean Fuels Coalitions (CCFC) touched on how individual travelers and our transportation landscape are being impacted by emerging technologies, how communities and businesses are adapting, and what relevance an energy lens brings to these discussions now and in a post-pandemic world.
Our panelists firstly covered the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficient Mobility Systems initiative and related federal priorities which helps communities determine how they can plan for and encourage energy efficiency increases in mobility. Focusing on a dynamic and holistic understanding of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) technology applications within a rapidly evolving transportation environment was a great experience for our attendees. Participants were also educated about the Mobility Energy Productivity (MEP) metric, an algorithm that takes travel time, cost, and energy to produce a quantifiable unit to measure mobility in our cities. This metric is being used by the US Department of Energy in a revolutionary way to analyze the sustainability of where we live. The unique perspectives our panelists gave us allowed the discussion of current applications of connected and autonomous technologies applicable to local communities in North Carolina and beyond.
The Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition has engaged local stakeholders on the CAV topic for several years now. After hosting three CAV workshops in Fall/Winter of 2018, the CAV Task Force was formed as a result of continuing interest in developments and education on the topic. As the group has grown, more interest across the nation has ensured that collaborative education efforts are able to happen as we aim to continue educating our stakeholders and local officials about connected and autonomous vehicles and how to make policy around them. CCFC Coordinator Jason Wager was able to experience a level 5 autonomous shuttle being run at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City last year at the annual Clean Cities Coordinator Workshop.