Government entities at all levels are looking at clean transportation solutions. Transitioning to more sustainable transportation benefits the environment and helps improve public health.
Let’s examine ways that local and state government bodies can help facilitate this transition and streamline processes to encourage adoption.
Benefits of clean transportation
The Environmental Protection Agency states that transportation makes up 29% of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the U.S. Investments in public transportation and transitioning to electric cars, trucks, and buses can help reduce emissions.
Public transportation already improves the situation. The American Public Transportation Association states that each full bus removes forty cars from the roadways, emitting 95% less carbon per passenger.
Improving air quality
Cleaner transportation solutions enhance air quality, which can help reduce the risk of diseases linked to pollution, such as asthma, lung cancer, and cardiovascular disease. According to the American Lung Association, zero-emissions vehicles can be a major contributor to reducing more than 89,000 premature deaths and delivering $978 billion in public health benefits.
Promoting energy independence and fuel diversity
Besides environmental and health benefits, transitioning away from combustion engine vehicles can move us closer to energy independence and reduce the reliance on imported oil. This can also help provide greater price stability in the energy sector and insulate it from global oil market price fluctuations.
Clean transportation solutions for communities
Government entities across the country are increasingly adopting clean transportation initiatives. For example, Los Angeles has announced plans to be 100% carbon neutral by 2035, installing 45,000 EV charging stations and continuing to invest in electric fleets for government vehicles, including sedans, street sweepers, and electric fire trucks.
Charging stations provide for broader adoption of EVs and support citizen interest in EVs as a viable alternative. Switching to more sustainable transportation options for government-owned vehicles demonstrates a proactive approach to meeting sustainability goals.
Due to the cost of building charging infrastructure and changing fleet vehicles, public-private partnerships are becoming more common. Federal, state, and local tax incentives and partnerships with utility companies are also helping to defray costs.
Encouraging a sustainable lifestyle
With 78% of people saying that a sustainable lifestyle is important to them, citizens expect leadership from the public sector. Government agencies at every level must take action to meet public demand.
An analysis of the current marketplace by EY concluded: "Market forces alone won't solve the problem, the onus is on governments to take the lead.”
Without such action, experts agree that meeting aggressive goals for reducing GHGs will not happen. The UN Environment Programme summed it up this way: "Only an urgent system-wide transformation can deliver the enormous cuts needed to limit greenhouse gas emissions by 2030."
Setting the tone
Government entities can set the tone by adopting formal plans and setting clear goals, such as committing to net-zero emissions by a target date and assessing all future procurement activities against those goals.
Perhaps the most important thing is simply to get started. Communities don’t need to implement every solution at the same time. Setting aggressive—but achievable—milestones can help move communities forward and provide a sense of accomplishment. Each step gets them closer to large-scale implementation toward a more eco-friendly future.
Providing transparency and accountability
Reporting to the community is of crucial importance to meet all these goals. Vehicle telematics can help automatically monitor performance and track improvements, providing measurable evidence of the impact of policies.
However, 60% of public sector organizations do not currently report on climate impact. Clearly, there is work to be done.
Public events, awareness campaigns, and demonstration projects can help educate community members about the benefits of environmentally-friendly options. Infrastructure investment to fund sustainability projects demonstrates a public commitment that turns ideas into action and showcases clean energy solutions within the community.
Providing incentives, such as grants and tax rebates, also helps educate consumers and businesses while incentivizing broader participation.
Besides providing financial assistance, you can offer additional incentives. For example, some communities provide perks for EV owners, such as free or discounted parking at charging stations in municipal garages.
States like California, Arizona, Hawai’i, and Maryland give preferential treatment to EV owners, allowing them to be in high-occupancy lanes even with single drivers.
Paving the way for these changes may require an evaluation of your current processes. For example, streamlining the permitting process for the installation of charging stations and adjusting zoning regulations to encourage the development of mixed-use and transit-oriented development.
Sourcewell can help with clean energy procurement
Sourcewell can help streamline the procurement process with cooperative purchasing agreements for clean transportation vehicles, infrastructure, and accessories.
These agreements are competitively sourced and ready to use, leveraging the bulk buying power of more than 50,000 government entities and universities.
See how easy it is to smoothly adhere to any greening initiatives using Sourcewell’s cooperative purchasing program. Streamline the process by choosing from hundreds of suppliers already on contract. Sourcewell’s procurement experts competitively solicit and award contracts on behalf of 50,000 participating agencies in North America. Check out our contracts here.