Boston’s electric vehicle effort needs a jolt

joanfitzgeraldBy Joan Fitzgerald | Boston Globe

Boston has a car problem. Too many people commute by car. And because of air pollution regulations, we have run up against parking limits. A recent Boston Globe article suggests Boston should follow the lead of Amsterdam and Copenhagen in building underwater parking garages as part of the solution. But we need to think bigger, especially if Boston is to meet its goal of getting one-third of the proposed 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 from transportation.

Transportation accounts for about 27 percent of Boston’s emissions. While improving and expanding public transit is the priority, people will still use cars and the remedy is more electric vehicles. Cities have to do a lot of planning to figure out how many charging stations are needed, where to locate them, and how to structure payment schedules. Boston is not a leader on this front.

London’s 2017 Transport Strategy calls for becoming a zero-carbon city by 2050. One strategy is to create an Ultra Low Emission Zone, a large area of the central city where higher-polluting vehicles will be banned. In addition, London is electrifying buses and the city’s iconic black taxis and building an extensive electric charging network.

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