Nominations Open for the 2020 Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Awards
The Tennessee Departments of Environment and Conservation and Transportation (TDEC and TDOT) invite nominations for the sixth annual Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Awards. Winners will be announced at the Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Forum & Expo, which will be held in November in Chattanooga.

The Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Awards recognize outstanding initiatives to improve the efficiency, accessibility, affordability, and sustainability of transportation systems in the state, consistent with ongoing efforts to improve the health and well-being of Tennesseans, provide for a strong economy, and protect and enhance our state’s natural resources. A panel of reviewers representing an array of interests will select award winners based on the following criteria:
  • Innovation – how the project utilized new thinking or creative approaches to meet a particular transportation challenge;
  • Best Practices and Replicability – how the project demonstrates a transferable solution, such that others could adopt or implement similar programs or initiatives;
  • Changes in Transportation Behavior – how a project worked to encourage or achieve changes in transportation behavior in order to make a transportation system more efficient;
  • Improvements to Public Health and Safety – how a project creates improvements to public health, well-being, or safety in a given community;
  • Equity and Access – how the project provides sustainable transportation benefits to all community members and creates accessible mobility solutions for diverse audiences.
Eligible applicants include federal, State (excluding divisions under TDEC and TDOT), and local governments; commercial, nonprofit, and industrial organizations; public and private institutions of higher education; and utilities. The entity must be located in Tennessee, and the project must have been completed in the last five years. All nominees must have a minimum of three consecutive, current years of exceptional environmental compliance with TDEC. Self-nominations are encouraged.

More information, including the nomination form, can be found at June 19 is the last day for nominations to be submitted. Questions about the awards can be directed to Alexa Voytek at or 615-532-0238.

Smart Trips Rewards Teleworking in East Tennessee amid COVID-19 Outbreak
Smart Trips, a Knoxville-based sustainable transportation program that promotes carpooling, public transit, biking, and walking in lieu of driving in single occupancy vehicles, is rewarding its users in East Tennessee who are working from home to practice safe social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Smart Trips typically rewards users with points for utilizing alternative mobility options; commuters then use these points to enter into quarterly drawings for prizes from local businesses. However, Smart Trips recently began awarding double the commuter points each day for users that stay and/or work from home through June 30, 2020. As Smart Trips purchases the bulk of its prizes directly from area merchants, the program creates a pathway for commuters to support local businesses as they navigate through an unprecedented public health event. Click here to learn more about Smart Trips. Click here to create an account.
Seven States Partners with ChargePoint to Purchase and Resell EV Home Charging Equipment
In March, Seven States Power Corporation signed a deal with ChargePoint to purchase the company’s Home Flex electric vehicle (EV) chargers in bulk at a discounted price, allowing Seven States to leverage the buying power of local power companies throughout the Tennessee Valley to purchase EV charging units for resale at a reduced rate to customers. The Home Flex unit is a Level 2, 240-volt charger that can be used with all available EVs on the market. The unit comes equipped with ChargePoint’s network capabilities, allowing owners to download the company’s mobile app and set charging reminders or schedule their charging for off-peak hours to help save on EV charging costs.

This residential charger offering is part of an effort by Seven States to promote EV infrastructure throughout the Tennessee Valley and complements its long-standing pricing agreement with ChargePoint for commercial and industrial chargers. Seven States oversaw 37 EV charger installations in 12 communities in 2019, and has an additional 66 charger installations pending completion in 2020.

U.S. DOE Launches its First Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Center
U.S. DOE recently launched its first lithium-ion battery recycling center, the ReCell Center, at Argonne National Laboratory to promote the safe and ethical recycling of current and future battery chemistries and to accelerate the growth of a battery recycling market amongst the EV, hybrid vehicle, and electronics industries. A research collaborative at the ReCell Center will test novel recycling techniques with the goal of developing new battery designs that optimize value and enable greater material recovery. Advancing this industry will assist the U.S. DOE Vehicle Technologies Office’s in lowering the cost of EV battery packs for consumers and increasing the use of domestically recycled battery materials.
RERC Physical Access and Transportation Grants
The Administration for Community Living (ACL) National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research has released $925,000 in funding through its Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers (RERC) Program to fund research and development that leads to new or improved products, devices, built environments, and technological advances that enhance accessibility or usability in communities or access to safe, accessible transportation options for people with disabilities. Full applications are due April 28. To learn more about how to apply for ACL grants, click here.
Accelerating Innovative Mobility Challenge Grants
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has released $11 million in Public Transportation Innovation funds for its Accelerating Innovative Mobility (AIM) Challenge Grants. This funding will support innovation throughout the transit industry by promoting forward-thinking approaches to improve transit system design, service, and financing. FTA will fund projects that can accelerate the development, implementation, and adoption of innovative technologies, practices, and service models to improve mobility and enhance rider experience, with a focus on innovative service delivery models, creative financing, novel partnerships, and integrated payment solutions. Eligible applicants include providers of public transportation, including public transportation agencies, State/local government departments of transportation, and federally recognized Indian tribes. The full project proposal deadline has been extended to May 18. Click here to view the full Notice of Funding Opportunity.
Civic Innovation Challenge
U.S. DOE and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have partnered with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to launch the Civic Innovation Challenge, a national research and action competition that seeks to fund ready-to-implement, research-based pilot projects that have potential for scalable, sustainable, and transferable impact on community-identified priorities. Applicants will compete in one of two distinct tracks. The first track, Community and Mobility, establishes a goal of offering mobility solutions that connect communities with affordable housing to areas where there is a high concentration of employment opportunity. The second track, Resilience to Natural Disasters, aims to equip communities with tools and strategies for greater preparedness and resilience to natural disasters and other emergency events. In the first stage of funding, up to 12 teams per track will be awarded up to $50,000 each; a second stage of funding will offer awards to up to three teams per track of up to $1 million each. Full applications are to be submitted to NSF by July 1. To learn more about the competition, click here. For more information on eligibility and how to build a team, click here.
Drive Electric Earth Day 2020
Plug In America, Sierra Club, and the Electric Auto Association are hosting a free virtual Drive Electric Earth Day event on April 22. Drive Electric Earth Day highlights the need for nationwide transportation electrification, to reduce mobile source emissions and their harmful environmental impacts. This event is an opportunity to learn about how EVs are a more environmentally-friendly alternative to traditionally fueled vehicles and will be hosted online to promote participant health and safety. Click here to RSVP for the event.
Webinar Series: Cars on Calls
The Denver Metro Clean Cities Coalition is hosting an interactive video series about EV ownership titled “Cars on Calls,” with live segments addressing a range of EV topics, such as vehicle model availability or EV purchase and charging incentives. Its most recent episode, which took place on April 15, covered a variety of topics related to EV charging technologies, including best practices for home charging, tips for accessing public charging, and information on how and where to use charging station mobile apps. The series will continue with “Electric Cars 101” on April 22 and “EVs in Real Life” on April 25
EarthxConference 2020
EarthxConference 2020 will be held virtually from April 22-27. This digital forum will seek to convene mission-driven advocates, investors, accelerators, and researchers to educate, promote, and instigate activities with a substantial positive impact on living things and the planet. Among the various conference events is EarthxCities, which will explore evolving practices, cutting edge solutions, and decision support for leaders facing challenges caused by climate change. EarthxCities will include sessions, panels, and individual speakers on climate resilience, clean energy, the built environment, green and resilient buildings, and resilient infrastructure and transportation. Visit to register and learn more.
Webinar: The Intersection Between Health and Transportation
The Transportation Research Board (TRB) will host a webinar on April 27 from 1:00 PM—2:30 PM ET to explore the health impacts of public transportation investments. Speakers will address how State and federal transportation program design can be informed by more than air emissions, noise, and water quality; instead, this webinar will explore how evaluating public health impact in tandem with these other environmental considerations can help change how programs measure a transportation project’s prioritization and success. The webinar also seeks to identify how improving the transportation needs of a community can increase safety, enhance accessibility, and advance public health outcomes. Click here to register.
Webinar: What Role Does Ecology Have in Sustainable Transportation?
TRB will host a webinar on April 30 from 1:00—2:30 PM ET that aims to help transportation professionals recognize the different ways that ecology and ecosystems are impacted and influenced by transportation systems. Webinar participants will learn to identify potential solutions to lessen a transportation system’s ecological impacts and will consider ways to develop ecologically-sustainable transportation models for the future. Click here to register.
2020 National Shared Mobility Summit LIVE
The Shared-Use Mobility Center is holding the 2020 National Shared Mobility Summit LIVE from May 5-6. Throughout the online event, 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 transportation innovations, strategies, policies, and plans; collaborate in sessions and panels on shared use mobility solutions; and engage in several opportunities for networking and partnership building among industry attendees. Click here to view the full event schedule. Click here to register for the summit.
Alternative Fuel Infrastructure and Vehicle Financing Opportunities
TDEC OEP has created an alternative fuel vehicle and infrastructure financing matrix to provide information and resources on financing options for both public and private fleets in Tennessee. This matrix details solutions and offerings highlighted during an Alternative Fuel Financing Workshop, held by TDEC OEP last fall, where public and industry leaders, finance experts, and fleet owners and operators collaborated to identify currently available financing opportunities for Tennessee fleets. To view the financing matrix and to learn more, click here.
Publications Highlight Importance of Shared Mobility
The Shared-Use Mobility Center has launched a Learning Module on the Importance of Shared, Electric Mobility, which aims to explore a broad array of electric and shared mobility pilot projects across the U.S. and to build a greater understanding of these projects across various disciplines. The module highlights the need for increased electric mobility with a simultaneous mode shift to more shared-use applications, as well as the role of both funding and policy in aiding these shifts.

Additionally, the University of California-Davis National Center for Sustainable Transportation recently released a policy brief on the potential for shared-use mobility service in rural communities. The brief explains that rural residents often have limited transportation options to access essential services, and examines whether shared-use mobility systems, such as ridehailing and carsharing, can provide an alternative mode to existing transit service in these areas. Through a cost-benefit analysis comparing the costs of existing transit service to ridehailing and carsharing services, the researchers indicate that these shared systems can provide cost savings and can have the potential to improve accessibility for disadvantaged communities. To learn more about the National Center for Sustainable Transportation, click here.

Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
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