10 Ideas for a Green Transportation Infrastructure

A Boost for Electric Vehicles

Granted, this won’t address what some see as the inherently environmentally unfriendly aspects of a transportation infrastructure geared towards automobiles. But the truth is that replacing gas-powered autos with those that run on electricity will make a big difference in reducing emissions of carbon dioxide. “Our modeling shows a significant benefit in CO2 reduction for every mile our customers drive on electricity,” says Mike Tinskey, Ford Motor Company’s associate director of global electrification infrastructure. “For example, a driver of a Focus Electric [car] will save about 1 ton (.907 metric tons) of CO2 over a one year period compared to the gasoline equivalent.”

A big problem, however, in the growth of electric vehicles is the lack of chargers available -- the equivalent today of having just a handful of gas stations. Tinskey estimates that there are currently around 3,000 chargers nationwide but that number will quadruple over the next year alone, thanks in large part to funding from 2009’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as the stimulus. Also important in making electric vehicles more viable is that six automakers recently agreed on a charging connector that will make it possible for most electric cars to be charged much more rapidly than was previously possible -- an 80 percent charge in just 10 minutes.

Click to the next page to learn what a green highway is.