DOT's Progress in 2017
DOT continues to pursue its sustainability initiatives with the goal of helping the City reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. The agency is focused in two main areas: one, reducing DOT’s own energy footprint, and two, expanding and improving sustainable travel options for all New Yorkers. For a complete list of the agency’s progress on Sustainability Initiatives, refer to nycdotplan.nyc/initiative-table.
LED Street Lights
In the largest such project in the country, DOT is currently retrofitting all of New York City's street lights with energy-efficient LEDs. The new lighting will reduce annual energy demand and maintenance cost, helping the agency to both meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals and save money. Additionally, the LEDs provide a higher quality light that enables better color contrast, which makes pedestrians and cyclists more visible at night. The project is scheduled for completion in May 2019.
Hunts Point Clean Truck Program
DOT’s Hunts Point Clean Truck Program is a federally-funded program that provides incentives to truck owners in the Hunts Point area to replace their older, dirtier trucks with cleaner, new models. In its first round of funding, DOT worked with trucking companies to replace or upgrade 500 trucks. In the past year, the agency received funding to replace or upgrade 100 additional trucks. The Clean Truck Program is making a noticeable impact on emissions in Hunts Point while providing significant air quality and health benefits over a much larger area in which the trucks operate. Replacement trucks in the program are on average 90 percent cleaner for nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 97 percent cleaner for particulate matter (PM2.5). If funding permits, DOT plans to expand the program to other Industrial Business Zones (IBZs) across the five boroughs. In December 2017, the program was recognized with a C40 Cities Mobility award.
Electric Vehicle Charging
On Earth Day 2017, Mayor Bill de Blasio set a target of making 20 percent of new vehicle registrations in NYC electric by 2025. Increasing the number of electric vehicles (EVs) is crucial to the City’s efforts to improve air quality and public health and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To make this happen, however, the City will need to work with private sector partners to dramatically expand the availability of electric vehicle charging stations across the five boroughs.
DOT is advancing on several fronts. In 2017, the agency announced it will partner with Con Edison to install at least 100 level 2 charging stations at curbside locations throughout the city. Level 2 chargers at the curb will allow EV owners to power up their vehicles while parked. The City will also invest $20 million to foster the creation of a network of 50 fast charging stations by 2020. Direct current (DC) fast chargers can provide an 80 percent charge to an EV in about 30 minutes.
DOT also has a program to encourage New Yorkers to use sustainable transportation. The agency’s Go Smart program helps New Yorkers make better local travel choices by providing information and support on walking, biking, carpooling, and taking transit. Go Smart originally launched in Middle Village, Queens and has now rolled out in Stapleton, Staten Island. With significant commercial and residential development taking place on Staten Island’s North Shore, DOT is using its Go Smart program as a way to mitigate congestion.
Over the course of the program, DOT has distributed information on sustainable transportation options to thousands of New Yorkers, mailed out more than 800 personalized travel kits, and partnered with over 30 local businesses to provide incentives and rewards to participants who log their Go Smart trips.
Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged in OneNYC to make New York City the most sustainable big city in the world and a global leader in the fight against climate change. The City is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80 percent by 2050 (80 x 50) and ensuring New York has the cleanest air of any large U.S. city. The City has been a strong voice for collective global action on climate change, supporting the adoption of the Paris Agreement at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21). In June 2015, the Mayor joined Pope Francis and other global city leaders at the Vatican and committed to reducing New York City’s GHG emissions 40 percent by 2030—an interim target on the path to 80 x 50.
New York City’s 80 x 50 Plan
New York City, built primarily on islands and with 520 miles of shoreline, is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, including rising sea levels, extreme storms, and heat waves. New York City’s transportation sector accounts for 22 percent of the City’s total greenhouse gas emissions, with fossil fuels burned in passenger cars contributing 14 percent of the citywide total and trucks an additional four percent. Most motor vehicles also emit particulates and other air pollutants that also contribute to global warming, as well as to asthma and premature mortality.
To combat these threats, the City is committed to reducing GHG emissions from the transportation sector through several approaches: encouraging travel by low carbon modes; minimizing congestion and total miles driven through technology, market signals, and new mobility service models; transitioning to more efficient cars and trucks running on cleaner energy sources; and enhancing the efficiency of freight and traffic. In the fall of 2016, the City will release a more detailed 80 x 50 action plan focusing on sectors with the highest impact, including transportation.
City of New York Inventory of New York City’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions, April 2016, by Cventure LLC, Cathy Pasion, Mikael Amar, and Yun Zhou, Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, New York, 2016.
DOT’s Hunts Point Clean Trucks Program
Tailpipe emissions from trucks are a significant issue in New York City, especially in communities—some of them low-income—that experience a disproportionate level of trucking activity. In 2012, DOT launched the Hunts Point Clean Trucks Program (CTP) to convert older dirtier trucks serving the Hunts Point produce market in the South Bronx to newer cleaner models. Through the $20 million program, trucking fleets were eligible for incentives to retrofit their vehicles or for a discount on the purchase of a new cleaner truck. To date, the project has taken 450 older trucks off the road and led to six engine retrofits and the scrapping of 24 old trucks.
The results are striking. The newer trucks release 97 percent less particulate matter (PM) and 90 percent fewer nitrogen oxides—both pollutants harmful to human health. And because the trucks are more fuel efficient and burn less fuel, greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced by 4,600 tons per year. Moving forward, DOT hopes to secure funding to replace an additional 100 trucks at Hunts Point, as well as to expand the program to additional neighborhoods that shoulder a disproportionate share of trucking activity.