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    Baton Rouge Bikeshare Program Seeing Success Despite COVID-19

    By Olivia Montgomery, LCF Intern

    Across the country, cities are rethinking the way they invest in transportation infrastructure. Baton Rouge in particular has joined a growing list of cities investing in bikeshare programs, one piece of a larger trend of services known as shared micromobility, which generally refers to share programs offering bikes, scooters, or e-bikes. Gotcha bikes, offered in the Baton Rouge area, are e-bikes that allow the rider to pedal or coast with the electric motor.

    From a sustainability perspective, these programs offer a great way to reduce automobile use by providing a quick and easy means of transportation for those rides that are too short for a drive and too long for a conventional bike. More broadly, bikeshare programs also offer economic benefits in that they can encourage economic development in certain areas, expand the reach of current public transit options, and improve public health.

    How to Ride

    As of July 2019, Gotcha bikes are available to rent on a pay-per-minute basis in Baton Rouge. Riders can download the Gotcha app to sign up, find docking station locations, and scan the bike to pay and ride. Once finished, riders can deposit the bike at any other station in the city. There are 17 locations downtown, in addition to stations near LSU, Southern University, and the Perkins Road overpass. The cost to rent is currently a $2 fee, plus $.10 per minute, or riders can purchase yearly or monthly subscriptions.

    Current Success

    According to the National Association of City Transportation Officials, the number of shared micromobility rides doubled from 2017 to 2018. Today, COVID-19 seems to be aiding the trend of growth. Nationwide, cities have closed streets or limited their capacity to create more space for socially distanced foot and bike traffic and to reduce reliance upon crowded public transit, naturally creating more demand for bikeshare rides.

    Though Baton Rouge has not made major changes to traffic flow, the impact of COVID-19 on bikeshare rides is similar in the capital area. On May 4, 2020, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation’s newsletter reported “Ridership is up 213% overall even though LSU students are no longer on campus. Trips per day had grown to nearly 600 on April 26, when the bikeshare company reported its latest activity. Weekly active riders soared to 1,500 in late April from less than 100 before COVID-19.”

    Some see this moment as an opportunity for changes that last beyond the pandemic. Former New York City transit commissioner Jannette Sadik-Kahn recently stated that this is a “once-in-a-lifetime chance to change course and repair the damage from a century of car-focused streets.” Coincidentally, one challenge Baton Rouge faces in growing its bikeshare program is the lack of comfortable bike paths and trails throughout the city. In fact, there are few, if any, comfortable trails connecting the clusters of docking stations throughout the city (i.e. LSU or Southern to downtown). Further, the City’s Bike Share Business and Implementation Plan includes expanding docking locations into different areas in a series of phases. However, one must ask how beneficial bikeshare access will be in areas with no sidewalks or bike lanes.

    Considering the increased demand for bikeshare rides, further strengthened by the COVID-19 pandemic, now is the time for Baton Rouge streets to become more bike-friendly. Over time, as shared micromobility increases, the positive impact on the city’s carbon emissions, car-congested streets, and more will become apparent.

    For more information, check out the following resources:

    Baton Rouge Ride Gotcha

    Baton Rouge's bike-sharing program sees dramatic uptick in ridership amid coronavirus pandemic

    COVID-19 Reveals How Micromobility Can Build Resilient Cities

    Webinars on COVID-19 and Micromobility

    Biking Provides a Critical Lifeline During the Coronavirus Crisis 


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    FOTW #1138: New Light-Duty Vehicle Fuel Economy in the United States Has Nearly Doubled Since 1975

    Originally posted by the Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy | Original Article

    From 1975 to 2019, fuel economy for all new light-duty vehicles produced for sale in the United States has increased from an average of 13.1 miles per gallon (mpg) to 25.5 mpg, a 95% increase. This is a significant improvement considering the new vehicle mix has recently shifted heavily towards SUVs and pickups, which generally have lower fuel economy than cars. The car SUV category showed the most improvement from 1975 to 2019 with a 143% increase in fuel economy. Cars, truck SUVs and vans each increased by more than 100% in that same time frame, while pickups increased by 63%.

    Note: Data for 2019 are preliminary. Data are production weighted. The “Car SUV” category includes 2-wheel drive SUV with inertia weight of 4,000 lb. or less.

    Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2019 EPA Automotive Trends Report, EPA-420-R-20-006, March 2020.

    Fact #1138 Dataset

    READ the original article


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    Wheels Keep Turning on Innovations for More Efficient and Clean Vehicles

    Originally posted by the Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy | Original Article

    While approximately 30% of today’s new cars can boast fuel economy of at least 30 miles per gallon, there is still the opportunity for further efficiency gains. In addition, while trucks make up just 4% of all U.S. automobiles, they account for more than 25% of transportation-related fuel consumption, and diesel averages 44 cents more per gallon than gasoline.

    Top scientists, engineers, and analysts with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Co-Optimization of Fuels & Engines (Co-Optima) initiative are examining how simultaneous improvements to fuels and engines can improve efficiency and reduce emissions and costs of the entire on-road fleet, including light-duty (LD), medium-duty (MD), and heavy-duty (HD) internal combustion vehicles that are likely to make up the majority of the U.S. automotive market for decades to come.

    After completing a major body of research focused on turbocharged spark ignition engines in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, Co-Optima’s FY2019 LD research and development (R&D) shifted focus to multimode solutions that employ multiple engine operating modes to maximize engine efficiency and fuel economy. A new report highlights the most significant Co-Optima R&D accomplishments from FY 2019, with details on findings that straddle LD, MD, and HD technologies.

    Co-Optima is jointly sponsored by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies and Vehicle Technologies offices. Partners include nine National Laboratories, along with more than 20 university and industry partners.

    Get more details on the report and learn more about the Co-Optima initiative.

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    FOTW #1135: Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards Finalized Through 2026

    Originally posted by the Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy | Original Article

    On March 31, 2020, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration posted the final Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Rule, which finalizes the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards through 2026. Estimates of CAFE requirements for cars reach 47.7 miles per gallon (mpg) in 2026 and for light trucks reach 34.1 mpg.

    Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, The Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient 'SAFE' Vehicles Rule, Final Rule, Tables II-15 and II-16.

    Fact #1135 Dataset

    read the original article


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    2020 Enrollment for LCF’s Green Fleets Program is now open!

    Louisiana Clean Fuels (LCF) has opened the 2020 enrollment period for our Green Fleets Certification program! The LCF Green Fleets Program is designed to recognize fleets for their progress towards their emission reduction goals as well as to assist fleets in deploying solutions that improve the economic and environmental performance of vehicle operations.

    What is Green Fleets Certification?

    Through Green Fleets, Louisiana Clean Fuels conducts emissions analysis and quantification of on-road vehicles for fleets throughout the state of Louisiana. Fleets can also promote their Certified Green Fleets status, showing their commitment to reducing emissions. Once certified, your organization will receive a report detailing your emissions reductions and scoring under the program along with permission to use the Green Fleets certification seal for your certification level on any and all of your organization’s publications for one year.

    Benefits of being an LCF Certified Green Fleet

    • Educational opportunities with workshops, training, and more.
    • Recognition and certification for environmental fleet leaders.
    • Branding and promotional tools for fleet achievement.
    • Informational resources on technology options and available incentives.
    • Connections with vendors offering advanced fuel and vehicle technologies, equipment, conversion systems, and more.
    • Funding assistance with grant opportunities; better data makes a better application. 

    Past Participants

    Examples of past participants include Republic Services, SporTran, the City of Lake Charles, Corporate Green, and UPS. all of which achieved certification through the Louisiana Clean Fuels Green Fleets Program. It takes significant effort to achieve any certification level, and Louisiana Clean Fuels is proud to offer recognition to fleets dedicated to reducing emissions. 

    The City of Lake Charles

    The City of Lake Charles achieved a 1-star certification through the Greet Fleets Program for the Lake Charles Public Works Transit Division in 2019. Lake Charles operates propane para-transit buses in their fleet.

    Republic Services

    Across the country, refuse companies are great examples of successful natural gas programs. Republic Services - also recognized as LCF’s 2019 Clean Fuel Champion at the Clean Fuel Leader Awards - achieved a 5-star certification through the 2019 Green Fleets Program. Republic Services utilizes compressed natural gas (CNG) in LCF’s territory to fuel their refuse trucks. Additionally, Republic Services reduces their emissions and fuel usage through other methods, including idle reduction, vehicle miles traveled (VMT) reduction, and fuel economy improvements.

    SporTran

    Shreveport’s transit company, SporTran, achieved a 5-star certification through the Green Fleets Program in 2019. SporTran’s bus fleet runs on 100% alternative fuels and consists of 33 CNG-powered buses and 5 electric buses.

    How to Enroll

    Enrolling in our Green Fleets program is simple and free.

    1. Fill out this short form or email LCF’s Co-Coordinator Tyler Herrmann at [email protected] to express your interest in the program.
    2. We will work with you to collect your relevant fleet data, such as vehicle types, model years, number of vehicles, fuel used, and fuel types.
    3. LCF will provide your fleet with a report that you can use as a benchmark for future fuel consumption and emission reduction programs. We will work with you to track your progress over time and provide guidance to help your fleet achieve emissions-reduction goals.

    With just a few extra steps, fleets who participated in our 2019 Annual Report can enroll in Green Fleets. The Annual Report survey asks users to indicate whether or not they’d like the data they’ve provided in the survey to be used to enroll them in the Green Fleets program. Most of the information needed for Green Fleets enrollment is already being provided for the Annual Report, so we can use that information to start the enrollment for the Green Fleets program if a fleet is interested. Then we will contact that fleet for further informational requirements at a later date.

    Learn more about the LCF Green Fleets Program and enrollment requirements on our Green Fleets Certification Program page.


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    FOTW #1131: Average Fuel Economy for Model Year 2019 Light-Duty Vehicles Was 95% Better than Model Year 1975

    Originally posted by the Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy | Original Article

    The average production-weighted fuel economy for all new light-duty vehicles in model year (MY) 2019 was 95% better than in MY 1975, while average horsepower was 78% higher and weight was 1% higher. From the late 1980s to the mid-2000s, fuel economy generally declined while horsepower and weight increased. Since 2004, due to technical innovations, fuel economy and horsepower have increased while vehicle weight has stayed about the same.

    Note: Data for 2019 are preliminary. All data are production weighted.

    Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2019 EPA Automotive Trends Report, EPA-420-R-20-006, March 2020

    Fact #1131 Dataset

    read the original article


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    Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) National Grants Now Open: 2020 Request for Applications

    Deadline to Apply - February 26, 2020 (11:59 p.m. ET)

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is excited to announce the availability of approximately $44 million in Diesel Emission Reduction Program (DERA) grant funds to support projects aimed at reducing emissions from the nation's existing fleet of older diesel engines. Under this competition, between 40 and 60 awards are anticipated to be made to eligible applicants.

    Application packages must be submitted electronically to EPA through Grants.gov (www.grants.gov) no later than Wednesday, February 26, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. (ET) to be considered for funding.

    Visit the DERA web page for more information

    Important Dates

    Activity Date
    Request for Applications (RFA) OPEN Monday, December 9, 2019
    Information Session Webinars
    Wednesday, December 11, 2019; 1:00 p.m. (ET)
     
    Wednesday, December 18, 2019; 3:00 p.m. (ET)
     
    Tuesday, January 14, 2020; 3:00 p.m. (ET)
     
    1+ (202) 991-0477, 4149804# (audio dial-in number)
    Questions and Answers Document
    Deadline for Submittal of Questions
    February 14, 2020 at 4 p.m. ET
    Deadline for Applications Wednesday, February 26, 2020, at 11:59  p.m. (ET)
    Notification of Selected Applicants May 2020
    Funding of Awards June-October, 2020


    Eligible Applicants

    The following U.S. entities are eligible to apply for DERA National Grants:

    • Regional, state, local or tribal agencies/consortia or port authorities with jurisdiction over transportation or air quality
    • Nonprofit organizations or institutions that represent or provide pollution reduction or educational services to persons or organizations that own or operate diesel fleets or have the promotion of transportation or air quality as their principal purpose.


    School districts, municipalities, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), cities and counties are all eligible entities to the extent that they fall within the definition above.


    Eligible Uses of Funding

    Eligible diesel vehicles, engines and equipment include:

    • School buses
    • Class 5 – Class 8 heavy-duty highway vehicles
    • Locomotive engines
    • Marine engines
    • Nonroad engines, equipment or vehicles used in construction, handling of cargo (including at ports or airports), agriculture, mining or energy production (including stationary generators and pumps).


    Grant funds may be used for diesel emission reduction projects including:


    Funds awarded under this program cannot be used to fund emission reductions mandated by federal law. Equipment for testing emissions or fueling infrastructure is not eligible for funding.

    Please refer to the full RFA for specific information about this competition.

    Informational Webinars

    2020 DERA National Grants

    Wednesday, December 11, 2019 at 12 to 1 p.m. CST
    Join at: https://meet.lync.com/usepa/swift.faye/TG550JGJ

    Wednesday, December 18, 2019 at 2 to 3 p.m. CST
    Join at: https://meet.lync.com/usepa/swift.faye/GKLCM5S6

    Wednesday, January 14, 2019 at 2 to 3 p.m. CST
    Join at: https://meet.lync.com/usepa/swift.faye/Q4CD0Z03

    Dial-In: (202) 991-0477
    Participant Code: 4149804#

    Webinar Highlights

    • Program Details
    • Changes This Year
    • Eligible Entities, Projects, Vehicles, Engines & Equipment
    • Funding: Availability, Project Funding Percentage, Restrictions
    • Proposal Submission
    • Evaluation Criteria
    • Potential Pitfalls
    • Tools, Resources and Support
    • Question & Answer Period


    If you have questions, please contact [email protected].

    Visit the DERA web page for more information


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