Mobility Equity: Clean Transportation for All
Our country needs a transition to clean transportation that is just, equitable, and fair. Not only will centering equity help the U.S. advance our climate goals, it will build resilient and thriving communities.
The need is urgent. Exposure to transportation pollution in low-income communities of color is a direct result of redlining and decades of racist government policy that relegated communities of color to areas surrounded by busy roads, freeways, ports, and other freight corridors filled with high rates of toxic tail-pipe emissions.
While electric cars help to reduce pollution, they cannot fix all of our transportation problems. Electric cars still contribute to congestion and auto-centric cities, while car ownership remains a financial burden for low-income households. Today there are a multitude of new mobility technologies and services available.Unfortunately, the benefits of these mobility services often fail to reach low-income communities of color.
Clean transportation is key to improving air quality and health in Black and brown neighborhoods. But so is increasing access to equitable mobility options that focus on moving people, not cars.
Mobility Solutions Grounded in Community Needs
The Greenlining Institute focuses on Mobility Equity: a transportation system that increases access to high quality mobility options, reduces air pollution, and enhances economic opportunity in low-income communities of color.
Identifying community mobility needs must be the first step in any transportation planning process. Our solutions then focus on creating mobility equity policies and programs that eliminate the structural inequities in the transportation system through increased access to high-quality mobility options and investments that reduce air pollution and enhance economic opportunity.
We work to ensure these solutions are the most equitable, sustainable, and best meet community-identified mobility needs.
Applying a Mobility Equity Framework
Greenlining created a Mobility Equity Framework that offers planners and community advocates a step-by-step guide to a more community-centered transportation planning process that focuses on the mobility needs of communities and puts affected communities at the center of decision-making.
We work closely with local, regional, and federal governments to apply the framework to evaluate mobility from an equity and community-centered perspective and to shift to a transportation planning focus on the needs of people, rather than car-centric infrastructure.
Electric Cars and Trucks: Charging Ahead
Through a series of landmark reports, we built momentum for electric carsharing in underserved communities, ensuring that electric vehicles are available and affordable to all, and increased use of electric trucks and buses.
Greenlining participates actively in the Charge Ahead campaign in partnership with the Coalition for Clean Air, Communities for a Better Environment, Environment California, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. The campaign formed in 2014 to pass and shape the implementation of Senate Bill 1275, the Charge Ahead California Initiative, which aims to bring one million electric cars, trucks, and buses to California by 2023. SB 1275 is creating programs to increase mobility and bring access to electric vehicle technology to low-income communities of color hit hardest by pollution and poverty and who often lack good transportation options.
Building on these efforts, we work in coalition to advance equitable adoption of electric vehicles for low-income communities of color as the state furthers its ambitious climate goals including:
- Assessing the opportunities for workers in the shift to electric vehicles
- Supporting CARB to develop e-mobility equity programs
- Advocating to ensure equity provisions in the Advance Clean Truck Rule, EV Fleets Rule, and Clean Car Rules II
- Securing billions of dollars for EVs in CA through the state budget.
We also work to advance equitable electric mobility policies in five states around the country as part of the Towards Equitable Electric Mobility community of practice. In 2020, Greenlining and Forth launched TEEM, a peer-to-peer community of advocates that share policy goals, build capacity, and develop a mutual commitment towards advancing racial equity in electric mobility and climate change goals. The cohort includes organizations from Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, and Virginia.
EV Equity Programs
Greenlining supports the implementation of equity programs designed to increase access to, and use of electric vehicles among low- and moderate-income individuals through the California Air Resources Board. We continuously work with our Charge Ahead California campaign partners to secure state funding for these EV equity programs, promote their benefits and successes, and ensure their design and implementation eliminates barriers and maximizes electric vehicle access. We also engage at the California Public Utilities Commission to shape rulemaking on the Clean Care Rule II, Advance Clean Truck Rule, and EV Fleets Rule to maximize equity.
EV Charging Infrastructure
Electric car and truck users urgently need convenient access to charging, and this continues to be a large barrier for working families. We advocate for equitable investments at the California Public Utilities Commission to deploy charging stations in underserved and low-income communities throughout California. We participate in advisory committees for pilot programs with San Diego Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, and Pacific Gas and Electric, and engage in the Transportation Electrification Framework proceeding to ensure that they meet the needs of low-income and disadvantaged communities. And we continue to advocate to ensure that new CPUC utility proposals in transportation electrification projects and others managed by the California Energy Commission are invested equitably in communities of color. Finally, we are advocating for equity in federally-funded charging infrastructure initiatives.