A conversation regarding expansive use of EVs as a solution to transportation’s impact on climate resulted in a University of California – Davis and Berkeley professor forwarding her course syllabus reading list for the week studying EVs this spring. She states and asks: “the situation is dire. But how can we achieve the needed changes? …on the ground, not just theoretically. That is the most essential question “.
Below is the “How to” answer to her question (modeled to the Louisville KY realities). And below that is her reading list.
How to Calm & Reduce Urban Traffic – inexpensively – very quickly – without telling drivers they may not drive
…reduce length of bus routes, extend routes only six miles +/- from First and Main, this immediately increases by several fold urban service, suburbs seven plus miles from First and Main are, for the moment, hopelessly car dependent
…establish dedicated bus lanes (increases transit frequency and efficiency)
….give buses the right of way at urban intersections (puts drivers at a disadvantage)
…turn urban one way streets to two way streets (slows traffic)
…have urban signals blink yellow or red but never green (elevates caution while decreasing speed)
…establish a bus depot/station/square (one city block surrounded by bus stops with a grocery store in the vicinity) with most routes passing one of the four perimeter streets (creates transit hub)
…eliminate urban surface parking lots (ground and elevated) by creating excessive fees for lots (result: owners will redevelop space as residential/commercial/park)
…eliminate urban street parking (passive discouragement for drivers)
…dedicate streets and adjacent 9’ +/- lanes to cyclists and scooters
…put bike racks and scooter parking in the street (not the sidewalk)
…eliminate the concept of streets and sidewalks – refer to that space as ‘the commons’
…eliminate the term ‘pedestrian’ (dull and plodding) – refer to ‘people’
FOR IN-CLASS DEBATE: WILL ELECTRIC VEHICLES SAVE US FROM CLIMATE CHANGE? OR WILL THEY MAKE EVERYTHING WORSE?
Daniel Sperling (2018). Electric vehicles: Approaching the tipping point. In (D. Sperling, ed.) Three Revolutions, pp. 21-54. Island Press, Washington, DC.
Henderson, J. (2020). EVs are not the answer: a mobility justice critique of electric vehicle transitions. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 110(6), 1993-2010.
Institute for Transportation and Development Policy and UC Davis (2021). The compact city scenario – electrified, at https://www.itdp.org/publication/the-compact-city-scenario-electrified/
Alexandre Milovanoff, Daniel Posen, and Heather MacLean (2020). Electrification of light-duty vehicle fleet alone will not meet mitigation targets. Nature Climate Change 10, no. 12: 1102-1107.
Blog articles on the raging debate about EVs:
Coby Lefkowitz, June 18, 2021, Electric vehicles won’t save us, at https://usa.streetsblog.org/2021/06/18/electric-vehicles-wont-save-us/
Kea Wilson, September 29, 2021, Study: How megacars, more driving could cancel out EV gains. At https://usa.streetsblog.org/2021/09/29/study-how-megacars-more-driving-could-cancel-out-ev-gains/
Kea Wilson, October 2, 2020, Study: We can’t fix transportation-related climate emissions with EVs alone, at https://usa.streetsblog.org/2020/10/02/study-we-cant-fix-transportation-related-climate-emissions-with-evs-alone/
Matthew Lewis, Aug 12, 2021, To solve the climate crisis, we need to drive a lot less — and drive electric https://usa.streetsblog.org/2021/08/12/to-solve-the-climate-crisis-we-need-to-drive-a-lot-less-and-drive-electric/
CarbonBrief, May 13, 2019, Factcheck: How electric vehicles help to tackle climate change. https://www.carbonbrief.org/factcheck-how-electric-vehicles-help-to-tackle-climate-change
Sorta Insightful, December 30, 2020, Carbon footprint comparison for gas and electric cars. https://www.alexirpan.com/2020/12/30/car-co2.html
Christine Berthet, January 5, 2022, OPINION: Do not put EV charging stations on public property, at https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2022/01/05/opinion-keep-ev-charging-on-private-property/. And (January 6, 2022), Op-Ed, Part II: Conversion to EVs is a once-in-a-century chance to fix many car culture problems, at https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2022/01/06/op-ed-part-ii-conversion-to-evs-is-a-once-in-a-century-chance-to-fix-many-car-culture-problems/
World Resources Institute, December 20, 2021, Biden Administration sets stronger standards for vehicle emissions. At https://www.wri.org/news/statement-biden-administration-sets-stronger-standards-vehicle-emissions