The City of Seattle, Washington recently released its transportation blueprint for the next two years. It plans to provide incentives for public and private companies to electrify their vehicles, while also encouraging more walking, biking, and transit ridership.
The Clean Transportation Electrification Blueprint calls for all ride-hailing trips to be electric and emissions-free by the year 2030; almost one-third of deliveries to be made with vehicles that don’t emit carbon; a ‘major area’ of Seattle to be restricted to most cars; and charging stations made readily available throughout the city.
In order to reach its 2030 climate goals, the city would like to see 90% of all ‘personal trips’ to be zero-emission – by walking, biking, and/or using electric transit options – by the end of the decade. The city has closed more than 32 kilometres of residential streets to most vehicle traffic to provide more space for walking and biking.
The city is also evaluating the feasibility of introducing a congestion charge in the downtown area. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) looked at congestion pricing programs currently in use in the cities of London, Milan, Singapore, Stockholm, and Gothenburg. The report has raised questions on the introduction of congestion charging, however, stating that “without a clear focus on social and racial equity, pricing can burden low-income people with new costs”.
“Right now, as our city and residents recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we have the opportunity to build our city back better to prioritise our residents’ health, safety, and quality of life,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. “While the city is committed to reducing car trips, these efforts alone are not enough to meet our climate goals – we must electrify everything that moves people, goods, and services in and around Seattle. By banning natural gas in buildings and electrifying our transportation system, Seattle can lead the nation in reducing our emissions and addressing climate change.”