NCTCOG Sustainability Projects Proliferate
Oct 18, 2013 01:21AM
The 2013 Ozone Season (March 1 to October 31) is just about over in North Central Texas, rated as having a medium threat for its 10-county region by the U.S. environmental Protection Agency. As of late September, the region had experienced 28 days of excessive ozone, compared with 33 for the same time period last year, with a slight shift of high readings to the northeast. The goal is to reach acceptable levels by the end of 2018.
The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) has several air quality programs in place that aim to improve our region’s air quality and move into compliance for the pollutant ozone. Many focus on education, development, implementation and enforcement of emissions reduction strategies.
Air North Texas
Air North Texas, the region’s clean air public awareness campaign, has continued air quality education and outreach efforts throughout 2013. It hosted the fourth annual Clean Air Action Day on June 21, in which North Texans were asked to do at least one new thing to help improve air quality. Clean Air Action Day achieved record-setting participation as participants made more than 2,890 commitments aimed at improving air quality.
Air North Texas also continued the Be Air Aware effort that launched in 2012, an ongoing initiative that encourages North Texas businesses, governments and individuals to implement specific clean air strategies when air pollution is forecast to reach unhealthy levels. The campaign offers examples of easy things citizens can do to help improve air quality, such as carpooling, using mass transit, conserving electricity and more.
The Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) Clean Cities Coalition is a locally-based, public-private partnership group that works to advance national economic, environmental and energy security goals by supporting local decisions to adopt practices that contribute to the reduction of petroleum consumption in the transportation sector.
In July, the Coalition was awarded re-designation from the national Clean Cities program, which gives the U.S. Department of Energy a better understanding of the Coalition’s accomplishments and needs. Its main goals are to facilitate and increase purchases of alternative fuel vehicles, support alternative fuel infrastructure and promote informed consumer choices regarding fuel economy, including hybrid vehicles.
The DFW Clean Cities Coalition hosts several events each year, from sustainability gatherings to quarterly meetings and training courses. Their biggest is the Texas AltCar Expo, which will take place at the Irving Convention Center in March, featuring an exhibit hall, Ride & Drive and speaker series.
AirCheckTexas—Drive a Clean Machine Program
The Drive a Clean Machine Program provides financial assistance to registered vehicle owners to repair or replace vehicles that have failed the state emissions test. It is offered to residents in nine of the 10 counties in the region. This year, the AirCheckTexas program replaced 1,478 vehicles and repaired 2,029 vehicles.
Locally Enforced Idling Restrictions
Enforced idling restrictions are aimed at reducing emissions caused by idling of heavy-duty gasoline and diesel trucks and other vehicles. To support the state in implementing this control strategy, NCTCOG has helped by developing outreach materials and assisting local governments with adoption, education and enforcement.
Truck Stop Electrification
The expansion of onsite infrastructure in the DFW region is a NCTCOG ongoing initiatives focused on reducing idling. Over the last seven months, 110 truck stop electrification (TSE) spaces were added in the region. These sites help reduce air pollution and save fuel by giving truck drivers access to auxiliary power without idling the main engine of the vehicle. Thanks to these projects, the DFW region now has five public TSE sites available across four counties.
Electric Vehicles North Texas
The Electric Vehicles North Texas (EVNT) program seeks to prepare the region for the widespread availability of electric vehicles (EV) through a partnership of local governments, business and other interested parties. As the number of EVs in the region increases, EVNT looks for ways to overcome barriers to the adoption and use of this clean vehicle technology.
For information about these programs and other initiatives, visit NCTCOG.org/trans/air/programs.