Transportation Goal 2: Shift the regional fleet to low- and no-emission vehicles
Electric vehicle charging
T-LU 2.1: Expand electric vehicle charging infrastructure throughout the region
While we know that more concentrated, mixed land use is critical to reducing vehicle-related emissions, electric vehicle technology has the potential to greatly reduce emissions produced by the transportation sector. Modelling work MARC has done indicates that electrification of 75%
of our fleet would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35% (from 2015 levels).
In order to support the efficient electrification of our vehicle fleet, charging infrastructure needs to be deployed effectively throughout the region. The large portion of the Kansas City region covered by Evergy has an extensive network of electric vehicle chargers, while some areas not covered by Evergy either have sparse coverage or no electric vehicle charging infrastructure at all.
For the most part, there is less charging infrastructure in lower-income areas. Expanding access will enable vulnerable communities to enjoy the benefits, like cleaner air.
Incentives for used EVs or EV carsharing to expand EV charging would benefit low-income communities. Expanding charging infrastructure to underserved communities should be prioritized after extensive neighborhood education, outreach and input.
EV car sharing
T-LU 2.2: Implement EV car-sharing in low-income communities
Many individuals and households in low-income communities do not have access to their own vehicle. Transit ridership and rates of walking and biking are often higher in these communities as a result.
Still, having access to a vehicle is important and often necessary, especially in a car-dependent environment. While car-sharing programs in general provide a mobility option to those who do not own their own vehicle, EV carsharing has the added benefit of zero tailpipe emissions. Given that low-income communities often have higher rates of asthma and other respiratory conditions, EV car-sharing in these communities could achieve multiple benefits.
EV car-sharing in neighborhoods with existing transit has also been shown to delay or reduce the need to purchase a vehicle—a cost savings benefit to lower-income communities.
While 15-minute neighborhoods have the potential to increase opportunities for lower-income households, especially those that do not own a car, gentrification leading to the displacement of existing residents is a possible side effect of this strategy. Therefore, local governments should work to increase incentives for affordable housing and work to diversify employment in partnership with local neighborhood associations.
Complete and green streets
T-LU 1.3: Increase complete and green streets throughout the region
and green streets provide comfortable places for people to walk, roll, bike and drive while managing stormwater with vegetation and permeable surfaces.
While all streets cannot accommodate all users, most can be retrofitted to allow for the comfortable and safe travel of all users.
In the Kansas City region and across the country, many streets can undergo a “road diet,” replacing pavement previously only designated for motor vehicles with transit facilities, bike lanes, sidewalks, multi-use paths or other public space.
Furthermore, green elements can provide additional benefits such as beatification, place making, providing shade and urban heat reduction, and decreased flooding through better water retention.
By increasing complete and green streets throughout the region, local governments will facilitate a mode shift from driving to walking and biking, thereby reducing VMT, while mitigating the effects of climate change.
Complete streets by their nature provide a more equitable transportation system because they are designed more for people than single-occupant vehicles. Still, changes to streets are not always viewed by the neighborhood in a positive light. All communities should be engaged in changes to the built environment that affect them, and planners should make a concerted effort to engage nearby neighborhoods as early as possible during the planning process to gather input.