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Transitioning from petroleum-powered to electric vehicles (EVs) has the potential to create enormous reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and air pollution.The burdens of poor air quality generated by our cars are borne disproportionately by lower-income neighborhoods and communities of color, and it is important to acknowledge the environmental justice impacts of the transition to EVs. Providing publicly accessible EV charging infrastructure will be a key component of supporting an effective and equitable transition.
The majority of today's EV owners charge primarily in garages in single-family homes. But many renters and homeowners are "garage orphans" who have no access to a garage or off-street parking lot due to housing that may be older, located in dense urban or peri-urban areas, and reliant on on-street parking. In addition, many commuters do not have access to off-street parking, or their employers may not offer EV charging stations in company parking lots. The presence of on-street charging infrastructure provides important access for garage orphans and can reduce range anxiety for all EV drivers, quelling the fear of running out of battery power, which is a barrier to EV adoption and use.
This PAS Memo establishes a vision for equitable EV access through on-street, publicly accessible provision of EV charging infrastructure. It introduces planning principles that address where and how chargers should be located and drills down into specific actions that planners can take to enable their equitable rollout. Planners can use this guidance to help their communities plan a charging network that supports equitable and inclusive EV ownership and use and maximizes the carbon emission and air pollution reduction benefits that will result from the transition to EVs.
About the Author
Adam Lubinsky, AICP