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Mark some metered spaces to let EVs park free, and reserve some prime spots for them in parking lots.



Those who make a lower-emissions vehicle choice should get preferred treatment in parking, to encourage others to make this choice too. (See the 80-20 rule: 20% will make the sustainable choice, the other 80% need to be incentivized.)

Note, personal vehicles are not the lowest-C transportation option, but we're not likely to be getting rid of them anytime soon, so at least incenting the least harmful of them will help.)

Category of the action

Building efficiency: Physical Action

What actions do you propose?

Label roughly a quarter of parking meters in congested areas "free for EVs", though time limits must still be respected.  Paint an "EVs only" logo on as many parking spaces as have been reserved for disabled parking, near these prime spaces.

Who will take these actions?

Cities, and those who paint the lines in parking lots.

Where will these actions be taken?

City streets and parking lots

How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?

These actions will create incentives and help change cultural perceptions to speed the shift to electric vehicles, which will cut carbon emissions from the current gasoline and diesel cars.  I will guess that the shift to EVs will be twice as fast as it would occur under BAU.  We could get a more accurate estimate by polling car buyers, to see what % of those not already leaning toward an electric (over gas) vehicle would do so if it had preferential parking.

What are other key benefits?

By helping to familiarize society with the idea of giving incentives for a more socially responsible choice,  it may encourage such alignment of incentives for other, non-auto-related choices.

What are the proposal’s costs?

Parking revenues will drop by somewhat less than 25%, if 25% of spaces are free-for-EV.  Another cost will be for labels and logos which must be created and affixed.  City parking regulations may need to be updated.

Time line

The action should be implemented within five years, although it may be wise to have a handful of municipalities serve as the vanguard for the first two years, to shake out the bugs before implementing more widely.

Related proposals

I don't believe any other transportation proposals from this round are related.  (Note to organizers: if you could provide a link(s) here, so those submitting proposals could easily scan existing candidates and past winners, that'd help with information access.)


"Plug-in EV sales in California last year (2013) amounted to 4 percent of all car sales in the state. Nationwide, sales of plug-in electric vehicles last year nearly doubled those of the 2012."  - Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates press release, May 1014

(A year-over-year doubling is great, but from a 4% market share, there's plenty of room to speed adoption up.)

Emissions comparison, gas vs. electric (Leaf): (DEFRA, EPA)