Planning cleaner transportation that serves everyone
To reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, our communities need to transition to “clean transportation” — including electric vehicles, public transit, carpooling, and walking or biking. Significant state and federal resources are being dedicated to this effort. How can we use those resources so everyone is part of this transition — including historically marginalized people, who are often left out of planning and investment?
This challenge is the focus of Community Transportation Transitions, a two-year project by Vital Communities and the Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission. The local program is part of a larger project involving one other Vermont region and two in Connecticut, led by Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships, a Boston-based nonprofit, and funded by a grant from the Vehicle Technologies Office of the US Department of Energy.
The Upper Valley team will conduct the project in two phases:
- Phase 1 – Fall 2023 through Spring 2024 (approximately): Conduct “clean transportation equity audits” with community members and organizations, taking special measures to connect with people who identify as BIPOC, refugees, English language learners, LGBTQIA+, people who are unhoused, people living with disabilities, or people who have low incomes to the opportunities this project and these federal investments might bring. “Clean transportation equity audits” are group and individual conversations to learn about people’s transportation needs and the barriers they face in meeting those needs.
- Phase 2 – Summer 2024 through Fall 2025: Assist groups and communities in developing plans for projects that encourage and enable cleaner, more equitable transportation.
The projects that result could build on measures our region is already taking toward cleaner, more equitable transportation, including:
- The Upper Valley EV Expo
- Upper Valley E-bike Lending Library and E-bike Subsidy program
- Advance Transit’s growing fleet of electric buses
About the Parent Project
Community Transportation Transitions is part of a larger project, Community-Driven Transportation Plans for the Northeast, led by Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships. In addition to the Upper Valley, the other target regions are Grand Isle County, Vermont; Bridgeport, Connecticut; and Winchester and Winstead, Connecticut. Other organizations on the team are the Connecticut Southwestern Area Clean Cities Coalition, the Vermont Clean Cities Coalition of Burlington, and the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity.
As a “Justice40”-covered project through the Department of Energy, this project is required to “engage in stakeholder consultation and ensure that community stakeholders are meaningfully involved in determining program benefits. Covered programs are also required to report data on the benefits directed to disadvantaged communities.”