The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded US$760,868 in federal funds to the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) in the US state of Tennessee for an innovative research effort to quantify the benefits of energy efficiency in a multimodal transport network.
The US DOE has announced the selection of 42 projects totaling US$80m to support advanced vehicle technologies that can enable more affordable mobility, strengthen domestic energy security, reduce the USA’s dependence on foreign sources of critical materials, and enhance the country’s economic growth.
This work supports DOE’s goal to invest in early-stage research of transportation technologies that can give the public and businesses greater choice in how they meet their mobility needs.
As well as CARTA, funding from the DOE is also going to the SCOPE (Smart Computing Over Physical Environments) Lab at Vanderbilt University, the University of Houston (Texas), the City of Chattanooga Department of Transportation, the Enterprise Center, East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition, and Green Commuter to work on the project.
The DOE says the project will enable the development and evaluation of tools to promote energy efficiency within a Mobility as a Service (MaaS) multimodal transportation model in a mid-sized city. Chattanooga is suitable for the project as CARTA operates a public transport system that provides fixed route transit services, and also runs paratransit services for people with disabilities, a downtown electric circulator shuttle, a parking system, and a historic railway, providing services for more than three million passengers per year.
In addition to energy efficiencies within each specific mode of operation, such as electric bus and electric car, the project will identify network mobility and energy efficiencies associated with movement throughout the network of transportation choices present within Chattanooga. In addition, the project can supplement the DOE’s national labs efforts by providing more data on electric bus operations under various driving conditions for model validation.
The DOE says technology integration projects such as CARTA’s research will bring together key stakeholders in partnerships to provide data on the impact of multimodal mobility services and solutions through real-world testing, evaluation, assessment and validation. The data, analysis and insights from this work will fill critical information gaps to inform mobility research needs, as well as near- and long-term transportation planning that maximizes energy efficiency and affordability.
“CARTA has more than 25-years’ experience of successfully operating all-electric vehicles,” said Lisa Maragnano, CARTA’s executive director. “This partnership will assist us in providing communities with safe, efficient and environmentally sustainable transportation for the future.”
Announcing the finance for the 42 projects under the Advanced Vehicles Research Program, US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said, “Improving the affordability of transportation for American consumers and businesses keeps our economy moving. By investing in a broad range of technologies, the DOE is ensuring America remains at the forefront of innovation.”
Chattanooga’s Mayor, Andy Berke, commented, “This is a great opportunity for our community. It leverages the innovative spirit of Chattanooga and promotes sustainable mobility solutions that can be deployed anywhere.”