This year, every state seeking federal infrastructure funding to build out its EV charging network will have to lay out their detailed plans for ensuring “a convenient, reliable, affordable, and equitable charging experience for all users.”
The National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program, part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), is key to the federal government’s ambitious effort to build a nationwide electric vehicle charging network. It will likely also be a crucial source of funding for states’ efforts to support their residents as they adopt electric vehicles.
The administration’s goal is to deploy 500,000 electric vehicle chargers by 2030. In order to access up to $5 billion for this effort, states must submit their plans to the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation by August 1. Plans received before the August deadline will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
High-quality, privacy-sensitive data will play a central role in each state’s EV infrastructure plan.
As we said in comments to the FHWA in January, comprehensive data about mobility activity is essential to the success of federal, state, and local investments in EV infrastructure. To ensure an equitable deployment of EV infrastructure in accordance with recent program guidance, policymakers and planners need disaggregate, privacy-sensitive data that can support thorough equity analyses of how people and places interact in the built environment.
Additionally, the administration’s Justice40 Initiative set a goal that at least 40 percent of the overall benefits of IIJA investments will flow to disadvantaged communities. Replica data can help determine if a state’s plan meets this requirement.
To secure an equitable economic future, the United States must ensure that environmental and economic justice are key considerations in how we govern. That means investing and building a clean energy economy … turning disadvantaged communities — historically marginalized and overburdened — into healthy, thriving communities.
– Section 219, Executive Order, January 27, 2021
The Justice40 Interim Guidance defines a “community” as either:
With Replica’s disaggregate data, which can be filtered by individuals’ demographic and economic attributes, it’s possible to conduct analyses that fit either or both of these definitions.
The federal government has already released some data that can support this work, including GIS shapefiles of disadvantaged communities and EV charging locations from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center.
Replica’s activity-based travel data is designed to be integrated with these datasets and others, allowing planners to analyze the travel behaviors of residents within these defined disadvantaged communities. Having the dynamic travel behavior of these residents — and not just their static home locations — allows agencies to more accurately evaluate whether or not 40% of the NEVI program benefits people who live in disadvantaged communities.
To demonstrate, we created an interactive map for the Illinois Department of Transportation that shows low-income travel behavior along I-80, a federally designated Alternative Fuel Corridor. The map highlights low-income commuters’ work locations (yellow clusters) and home locations (teal clusters) along I-80.
This clustering analysis method enables planners to identify sites that maximize NEVI program benefits for residents in disadvantaged communities. For example, if planners seek to prioritize EV infrastructure near places of work along the corridors that support disadvantaged communities, they should consider sites in Morris, Ottawa, Peru, Princeton, and Geneseo based on Replica’s model.
Replica’s models include other useful attributes as well, including a household’s private auto availability, consumer spending at gas stations and parking facilities, land use (and housing dwelling type), and more. These data points can all be used to measure a plan’s outcomes against program guidelines.
Analyses like this give public agencies additional muscle power to understand the impacts of infrastructure investments in disadvantaged communities, as outlined under IIJA.
Further, comprehensive, disaggregate mobility and socioeconomic data with privacy protections can help address urgent needs around these inequities and help take the guesswork out of infrastructure planning while attracting federal investment to build more equitable and resilient places.
Replica is a data platform for the built environment. Our data and tools can help states with multiple ports and distribution centers create a common operating picture, monitor ongoing conditions with near real-time data, and evaluate the impact of strategic interventions from offshore activity, through commercial vehicle travel, down to consumer spending impacts.
Replica leverages a composite of data sources to build high value, affordable, privacy-sensitive tools to provide insight on the complex interactions of mobility, people, and economic activity, including commercial freight. This data can help states, port authorities, local public agencies, and the private sector make data-informed decisions to unclog the supply chain. More importantly, this data can be used by policymakers, planners, and operators to direct short- and long-term goods movement infrastructure investments, which also impact local communities, including low income and communities of color.
For more information on how Replica can help you with these challenges, please contact us.