June 2020 Issue

Related: Carbon Concerns

A caveat about electrification of transportation is that the climate benefits are diminished to the extent that electricity used for charging is generated by fossil fuels. And those fuels still heavily dominate the energy sector. In China, three-quarters of electricity is generated by coal. In the U.S., only 18 percent of electricity generation is from renewable sources. But the cost of renewable energy is dropping and its use expanding rapidly. So, there is continued and accelerating progress towards a cleanly powered transportation sector—but it may take years.

Renting bicycles on street
Scooters and other "micromobility" can hasten progress on climate change.  Ed Murray

Even so, the Union of Concerned Scientists found that the average EV in the U.S is as clean as an 80 mile-per-gallon gas-powered car even when fossil-fuel emissions from generating plants is taken into account.

The progress would be even faster if another zero-emission transportation option were expanded—non-motorized transportation including walking, biking, scooters and the like. Local governments are actively doing their part. Complete streets, designed to meet the needs of all users, have become a design standard for many communities to promote livability, including installing bike lanes, pedestrian amenities, traffic calming measures and denser development near transit.

But application is limited. Much of the nation, particularly suburbs, was designed exclusively for auto access and use. The reality is, most people and businesses in the nation want and need their cars—it’d just be better for the planet if more of them were EVs.

In This Issue

From the NJTPA Chair

Kathryn A. DeFillippo, NJTPA ChairWe're pleased to present this latest issue of InTransition magazine, which is being published online only due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The crisis has drastically curtailed travel on our nation’s transportation system, with 15 percent or more of the nation’s workforce now unemployed and others telecommuting. … read more