VW Partners with UT and ORNL to Create Automaker's First North American Innovation Hub
Volkswagen is partnering with the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to create the automaker’s first “Innovation Hub” in North America. The collaboration will provide cutting edge research opportunities to doctoral students; initial work will focus on the development of lighter vehicle components made from composite materials and the electrification of vehicles.

The Innovation Hub aims to attract world-class research talent to Tennessee and is part of the company’s plan to produce 1.5 million EVs by 2025. This alignment of industry, academia, and the national laboratory will seek to accelerate fields such as materials science, energy storage, and advanced manufacturing while informing manufacturing practices to make vehicles that are better, safer, and more fuel efficient. For more information, click here.

Nashville Mayor to Prioritize Transportation Planning in 2020
Nashville Mayor John Cooper recently released a First 100 Day Report detailing progress made within his administration on several campaign agenda items. The report highlights efforts to develop a citywide transportation plan by September 2020 that will address mobility and transit issues (e.g., dangerous intersections, traffic congestion, bus route issues, etc.). To solicit feedback from the public on ideas, priorities, and concerns regarding transit and transportation, the

Mayor’s Office of Transportation is holding a series of public listening sessions. The dates and locations of the remaining sessions are as follows:

  • January 23, 6:00 PM-7:30 PM – Bordeaux/Clarksville Pike
  • January 28, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM – North Nashville
  • January 30, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM – Joelton
  • February 6, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM – West Nashville
  • February 11, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM – Bellevue
  • February 18, 11:30 AM-1:00 PM – Downtown
  • February 20, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM – Green Hills/Hillsboro Pike
  • February 24, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM – Nolensville/South Nashville
  • February 27, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM – East Nashville/Madison
For more information on specific meeting locations and session information, click here. Click here for the full First 100 Day Report.
Knoxville Celebrates First All-Electric Bus Purchase
In December, Knoxville Area Transit (KAT) and City of Knoxville leaders celebrated the purchase of the City’s first five all-electric transit buses, which are expected to be delivered and placed into service  in early 2021. The purchase is part of KAT’s effort to further invest in alternative fuels for its fleet, 33% of which is currently comprised of hybrid-electric buses. The City’s increased investment in public transportation over the last eight years has led to a 12% increase in KAT’s ridership; fleet electrification will continue to help reduce the City’s emissions, 44% of which currently come from the transportation sector.
Nominations Open for 2020 Governor's Environmental Stewardship Awards
TDEC is inviting Tennesseans to submit nominations for the 2020 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards, which honor outstanding accomplishments that support the protection and enhancement of Tennessee’s natural resources.

Nominations are currently being accepted for the 2020 awards, which include the following categories: Building Green; Clean Air; Energy and Renewable Resources; Environmental Education and Outreach (for both school and non-school projects); Land Use; Materials Management; Natural Heritage; Sustainable Performance; and Lifetime Achievement. For 2020, the program has also added three new award categories: Agriculture and Forestry, Natural Resources, and Water Quality.

The use of alternative fuels, advanced vehicle technologies, or other sustainable transportation projects could be eligible for an award under several categories, including Clean Air, Energy and Renewable Resources, or Agriculture and Forestry. Any individual, business, organization, educational institution, or agency is eligible for nomination, provided it is located in Tennessee and the project was completed during the 2019 calendar year. A panel of judges will select award recipients based on criteria including level of project or program completion, innovation, and public education. The deadline for nominations is March 31, and winners will be announced in May. Contact Kathy Glapa at (615) 253-8780 or with any questions.

CNG Fuel System Inspector Training Scholarship Program
The Natural Gas Vehicle Institute (NGVi) recently announced a scholarship opportunity for Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Fuel System Inspector Training. Eligible applicants include CNG fleet and dealership management personnel responsible for technician training. Scholarships will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications are due January 31. Click here to apply.
2020 Keeling Curve Prize
Applications are now being accepted for the 2020 Keeling Curve Prize, which awards $25,000 to outstanding projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Eligible applicants include those working on active, ongoing projects in the following categories: Social & Cultural Pathways; Energy; Finance; Transport & Mobility; and Capture & Utilization. Two winners will be selected in each category. Applications are due by 6 PM Central on February 9. Click here to view the application form.
2020 Community Bike Challenge Program
The Jeff Roth Cycling Foundation is awarding six grants of up to $1,000 in conjunction with its 2020 Community Bike Challenge Program. Local bicycle clubs, community bicycle programs, and other not for profit and nonprofit organizations are encouraged to submit proposals for projects that promote bicycling as a safe and healthy form of recreation and transportation.

Projects that demonstrate potential for achieving community-wide impact (e.g., encouragement of new cyclists of all age groups, safe cycling programs, promotion of cycling as a form of family recreation, facilitation of bicycle maintenance in underserved communities, and education for law enforcement and judicial agencies on bicycle-pedestrian legislation, etc.) will receive prioritization for funding. Letters of intent are due by February 1 and full proposals are due by March 15.

2020 IDEA Program to Fund Transportation Innovations
The Transportation Research Board has opened solicitations for the 2020 Innovations Deserving Exploratory Analysis (IDEA) program, which offers early stage research funding for promising but unproven safety and performance innovations pertaining to highways, transit, and rail. Topics include methods for rapid measurement of environmental impacts of transportation projects; technologies for recycling and reusing materials; methods and technologies for improved mobility in transit systems; and methods for delivering equitable, accessible, and environmentally responsible transit services. Click here to read the full program announcement. Highway IDEA program proposals are due March 15, and Transit IDEA proposals are due May 1.
U.S. DOE to Release Funding for Advanced Vehicle Technologies
U.S. DOE recently announced that it will issue a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to support several sustainable transportation research and project areas, including lithium-ion batteries using silicon-based anodes; low cost electric traction drive systems using no heavy rare earth materials; utility-managed smart charging programs; improved efficiency of medium- and heavy-duty natural gas and propane engines; electric vehicle and charging community partner projects; and improved mobility, affordability, and energy efficiency through transit. U.S. DOE anticipates issuing the FOA sometime in January or February. Click here to read the full Notice of Intent and to find a list of first steps for potential applicants.
21st National Bike Summit
The League of American Bicyclists will hold its 21st annual National Bike Summit in Arlington, Virginia and Washington, D.C. from March 15-17. This year’s summit theme, “Safe Streets for Everyone,” will be discussed in plenary and panel sessions, keynote talks, and poster presentations; attendees will learn about how to influence local transportation policy and will hear from advocates from across the country on how to address pedestrian safety and accessibility on America’s roads. Click here to register for the summit.
2020 National Shared Mobility Summit
The Shared-Use Mobility Center is holding the 2020 National Shared Mobility Summit in Chicago from March 17-19. Public and private sector leaders, innovators, and advocates will collaborate with an aim to achieve equitable, accessible, affordable, and clean mobility. Attendees will hear about the latest innovations, strategies, policies, and plans; collaborate in hands-on sessions, workshops, and panels; and engage in several opportunities for networking and partnership building. Click here to register for the summit.
Report: The State of Transportation and Health Equity
Smart Growth America recently released “The State of Transportation and Health Equity,” a report that identifies transportation challenges to health equity as well as tools to address such problems. Transportation can both positively and negatively impact human health—for example, concentrated vehicle emissions along an interstate can impact lung health for individuals living and working along that corridor, whereas neighborhood accessibility and design for active transportation (e.g., walking, biking, etc.) can increase exercise and mobility. Additionally, lack of mobility can keep individuals from accessing health facilities or from receiving proper medical care. In the face of these concerns, the report asserts that advocates must perform the following to improve health equity: 
  • Reframe the transportation conversation;
  • Allocate funding and resources equitably;
  • Improve the quality and diversity of transportation leadership;
  • Prioritize historically underrepresented communities in transportation decision-making;
  • Work in unison to provide people-focused infrastructure; and
  • Invest in communities without displacement.
Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
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