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State and Local Climate and Energy Program

Houston Climate Showcase

Houston, Texas

Federal Funding: $423,069
Project Timeline: July 2010 – June 2013

Latest Update

The City of Houston has completed two of three project initiatives and is implementing the final initiative of their project. Five hybrid vehicles have been converted into plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) as part of an emission-testing program with the Texas Transportation Institute. The City has leased two electric vehicles (EVs), completed the installation of four EV charging stations, and shared information about the vehicles at community events. The City of Houston plans to launch Houston Fleet Share, the first municipal EV car share program in the nation. The EVs acquired through the Climate Showcase Communities Program will contribute to the motor pool. Lastly, the City launched the Bike Share Demonstration component in May 2012 with elected officials riding a short distance on the bikes to the media launch event. Upcoming work includes installing additional bike stations to increase ridership and developing a memorandum of understanding between Houston Bike Share and the City of Houston.

Photos

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Photos from the Houston B-cycle Kick-off.

Houston B-cycle Kick-off

Photos from the Houston B-cycle Kick-off/Press Conference, held on May 2, 2012.

Photos from the Houston B-cycle Kick-off.

Houston B-cycle Kick-off

Photos from the Houston B-cycle Kick-off/Press Conference, held on May 2, 2012.

Photos from the Houston B-cycle Kick-off.

Houston B-cycle Kick-off

Photos from the Houston B-cycle Kick-off/Press Conference, held on May 2, 2012.

Photos from the Houston B-cycle Kick-off.

Houston B-cycle Kick-off

Photos from the Houston B-cycle Kick-off/Press Conference, held on May 2, 2012.

Photos from the Houston B-cycle Kick-off.

Houston B-cycle Kick-off

Photos from the Houston B-cycle Kick-off/Press Conference, held on May 2, 2012.

Electric car being charged.

Houston's Electric Vehicles

The City of Houston purchased a fleet of 25 electric vehicles and is installing public charging stations at popular locations in the City.

Parking lot with electric cars.

Plug-in Hybrids

One of the City of Houston's plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV).

Bike Share Sites.

Bike Share Sites

The City has determined locations for 3 bike share locations. Enlarge »

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Project Summary

Promoting Electric Vehicles and Bike-Friendly Technologies to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Houston's petrochemical refining industry and port operations have a significant impact on area air quality and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Local vehicle travel adds to these environmental challenges. As part of its efforts to address GHG emissions and air pollutants, the City of Houston is launching three Climate Showcase initiatives:

  • A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) conversion,
  • An electric vehicle program, and
  • A bike share demonstration program.

First, Houston is converting five Priuses into plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). This new vehicle will be tested to determine emission reductions. Second, Houston is promoting electric vehicles by purchasing a fleet of 25 for municipal use and installing four public charging stations at popular locations in the City. A marketing campaign is underway to promote electric vehicles and educate the public. This campaign is also collecting data from the charging stations to learn more about how the public is using them. Through a partnership with the Rocky Mountain Institute and Houston’s Geotechnology Research Institute, the City is also developing a “Houston EV Readiness Roadmap” to identify and overcome longer-term barriers to adopting electric vehicles.

Third, the City is implementing a bike-sharing program, which provides bicycles to travelers at three stations in downtown Houston. For trips under one half hour, bicyclers can use the bikes for free, after which they are rented on an hourly basis. Houston is partnering with local business and developers to install the bike share station in a prominent downtown location. Solar-powered station kiosks will collect data for analysis on usage and trip characteristics.

These three initiatives will provide important environmental benefits: they will reduce GHG emissions by promoting alternative forms of transportation, as well as reducing air pollutants such as particulate matter and volatile organic compounds. Efforts to increase bicycle travel will also yield health benefits to participants, facilitate accessibility to and within the downtown area, and improve quality of life in local neighborhoods. The City is also focused on developing partnerships with local stakeholders to raise community awareness and acceptance of electric vehicles and bicycle transportation. Projects like the Houston Plug-in Roadmap, data collection efforts, and a focus on improving the deployment of electrical vehicles and bike-friendly technologies will help ensure that these benefits continue beyond the life of the program.

Community Characteristics

Population: 2.2 million
Area: 600 square miles
Government Type: City
Community Type: Urban
Median Household Income: $33,000

Program Results

  Reported Results (as of September 2012) Projected Cumulative Results
Annual GHG Reductions 2.1 mt CO2e 24 mt CO2e
Electric Vehicles Purchased 7 5
Charging Stations Built 4 4
Bike Share Stations Built 3 1

Project Website

Media Coverage

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