Department of Energy awards $3.8M grant to develop zero emissions curbside management model
August 10, 2021
The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded the City of Pittsburgh a 3-year $3.8 million grant to advance zero emissions delivery, study curb use in business districts and implement technologies and policies that accelerate electric vehicle (EV) adoption by commercial fleets. Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and Santa Monica were the only three cities awarded the inaugural grant to conduct research and create models that other cities can use.
The proposal, led by the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator in partnership with the Pittsburgh Parking Authority, Automotus, Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI) and others, will expand Pittsburgh's curbside parking pilot. It will deploy around 150 additional "smart loading zone" cameras in areas with high concentrations of vehicle traffic, restaurants and small businesses, starting with Downtown, Lawrenceville and Oakland.
The cameras will gather data on the types of activities happening curbside like parcel delivery, food delivery, ride-hailing, patron parking, bus riding or other activities and measure which of these vehicles are electric or combustion engines.
Newly collected data will be analyzed to see what vehicles are using the curbside for what purpose to determine policies that can enhance the safety and efficiency of parking, traffic flow and incentivize the use of electric vehicles. In the first phase of this project, DOMI will be working with local business organizations, restaurants, small businesses and other community stakeholders to pilot dedicated smart loading zone areas for curbside takeout and delivery services. These zones will enable streamline pick-ups and drop-offs and reduce double-parking and fuel emissions from idling vehicles.
This is the first federal grant of its kind to accelerate emission reductions by leveraging curbside management policies and technologies and will serve as a blueprint to cities nationwide. With the increase of curbside services for businesses, cities are looking towards new technologies for ways to reduce traffic congestion, reduce emissions to improve air quality, increase equitable access to business districts and adapt curbside management practices to emerging services.