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Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition Invited to “Re-Envision” Department Of Energy Program at NREL

06.16.16

 

Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition Invited to “Re-Envision” Department Of Energy Program at NREL

On May 24, 2016, Charlotte Region transportation planners and Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition (CCFC) representatives Jason Wager of the Centralina Council of Governments and Jason Lawrence of Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) attended a workshop at the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) in Golden, CO.  Also invited were officials from the U.S. Department of Energy and several of its Laboratories, Clean Cities Coordinators, and planning and energy leaders from regions spanning the country.  

A focus of this event was the changing landscape of transportation.  This included emerging transportation technologies, barriers and opportunities related to efficient and effective transportation, and how each of us play a role in our communities in forming the partnerships that will roll out the expected changes to how we move people and goods in the future.  As our population continues to grow, local governments will be a key collaborator in helping to deploy new solutions to address congestion, safety, and reliability of the transportation system.  In addition, attendees pointed out the need to also keep in mind energy efficiency and creating the least amount of disruption to our residents.  

Current and Past Initiatives Getting Attention

This invitation spotlights several local efforts that caught the eye of workshop planners and points out that, while we have much to do, we are on the right track.  Local initiatives include:

1. Smart Cities Proposal – The City of Charlotte’s recent application to the US DOT Smart Cities competition highlighted our region’s interest in tackling significant issues like first mile/last mile connection, navigating transportation options, environmental issues exacerbated by congestion, productivity loss/decreased quality of life due to congestion, and improving the economic mobility of its lower income residents, each of which can involve deployment of emerging transportation technologies.  CATS’ role and knowledge in this arena specifically is noted as critical to understanding what future transportation efforts must address;

2. Charlotte Regional Alliance For Transportation (CRAFT) – Recently CCFC staff were asked to present to a gathering of the six (6) transportation planning organizations in the greater Charlotte region on the topic of Connected and Automated Vehicles and how the emergence of these technologies should be addressed in our long range planning documents and discussions;

3. Plug-in Electric Vehicle Readiness Planning –The “Plugging in from Mountains to Sea” statewide planning project, with funding provided by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program through the Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition, initiated a systematic approach to accommodating electric vehicles and fueling infrastructure which are expected to be key components of the future of mobility;

4. Innovation Corridors –A systematic approach to promoting economic development along key transportation corridors designated as part of the CONNECT Regional Growth Framework. This concept explores the potential to unify place making, economic development/innovation hubs, and transit, allowing communities to promote public transit and high-performance broadband coordinated with transit-oriented housing, commercial development and important public services and institutions, including education;

5. Regional Freight Mobility Plan – This plan will serve urban, suburban, and rural areas of the region by aiding in the understanding of current and future levels of freight network activity, defining feasible solutions supported by the private sector, identifying new technologies to improve freight flow and attract new businesses to the region, and guiding the region’s investments in freight infrastructure.

What’s Next?

The Department of Energy forecasts that a re-envisioned Clean Cities program will be rolled out by this fall, following additional stakeholder engagement events in Washington DC this summer.  Fortunately, our region appears to be well poised to take advantage of what will no doubt be a program focused on the future of transportation and that intentionally integrates efforts across the U.S. Departments of Energy, Transportation, and others.  


About Clean Cities and the Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition

The Clean Cities program, represented in the Charlotte region by the CCFC, is a national network of local coalitions focused on advancing the nation’s economic, environmental, and energy security.  Local stakeholders serve as the foundation of Clean Cities by working to cut petroleum use in their communities, through the deployment of technologies, alternative fuels and vehicles, and targeted programs.  Stakeholders include private businesses, fuel providers, vehicle fleets, state and local government agencies, and community organizations.  They support each other in providing information and resources, informing public policy, educating the public, and collaborating on transportation projects.  For more information on Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition, visit their website at www.4cleanfuels.com, and to learn more about the national Clean Cities program visit the website at http://www1.eere.energy.gov/cleancities/

Centralina Council of Governments
9815 David Taylor Drive
Charlotte, NC 28262

Part of the U.S.
DOE Clean Cities
National Network