The big question for planners since the outset of the pandemic has been how cities and communities will change, and what role planners will take in implementing those changes. Here are four potential ways for urban planning to respond to the crisis.
Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation Friday establishing an incentive program for purchasing battery electric vehicles, allowing up to a $5,000 rebate, the nation's highest, plus $500 rebates for home-chargers. EVs are already exempt from sales tax.
Auto manufacturers will offer more battery and plug-in hybrid models this year, and the nation's largest state is expected to approve a new regulation requiring medium and heavy-duty truck manufacturers to sell zero-emission vehicles.
U.S. PIRG wants states to use funding from multi-billion dollar Volkswagen settlements to convert the nation's school bus fleet, 95% of which is diesel-powered, to zero-emission buses to reduce children's exposure to toxic air pollution.
The move is risky. The agency has no electric buses now, and the last ones it operated performed so badly they had to be returned. The plan is to make the transition in phases, and hope that battery technology improves.
<p>In the San Francisco Bay Area, two public transit agencies are conducting trials with "Zero Emission Buses", or ZEBs. They are using different types of hydrogen fuel cell technologies, with very different results.</p>