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Unlock EV Infrastructure Funding With Replica Data

To get federal funding for electric vehicle chargers, states have to detail their plans to build a convenient, equitable EV network. Here’s how Replica can help.

Published on
July 30, 2022

This year, every state seeking federal infrastructure funding to build out its EV charging network will have to lay out their detailed plans for ensuring “a convenient, reliable, affordable, and equitable charging experience for all users.”

The National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program, part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), is key to the federal government’s ambitious effort to build a nationwide electric vehicle charging network. It will likely also be a crucial source of funding for states’ efforts to support their residents as they adopt electric vehicles.

The administration’s goal is to deploy 500,000 electric vehicle chargers by 2030. In order to access up to $5 billion for this effort, states must submit their plans to the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation by August 1. Plans received before the August deadline will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Replica can be a key data source in developing these EV infrastructure plans

High-quality, privacy-sensitive data will play a central role in each state’s EV infrastructure plan.

As we said in comments to the FHWA in January, comprehensive data about mobility activity is essential to the success of federal, state, and local investments in EV infrastructure. To ensure an equitable deployment of EV infrastructure in accordance with recent program guidance, policymakers and planners need disaggregate, privacy-sensitive data that can support thorough equity analyses of how people and places interact in the built environment.

Additionally, the administration’s Justice40 Initiative set a goal that at least 40 percent of the overall benefits of IIJA investments will flow to disadvantaged communities. Replica data can help determine if a state’s plan meets this requirement.

To secure an equitable economic future, the United States must ensure that environmental and economic justice are key considerations in how we govern. That means investing and building a clean energy economy … turning disadvantaged communities — historically marginalized and overburdened — into healthy, thriving communities.

– Section 219, Executive Order, January 27, 2021

Replica data helps analyze travel behavior in disadvantaged communities

The Justice 40 Interim Guidance defines a “community” as either:

a group of individuals living in geographic proximity (such as census tract)
or a geographically dispersed set of individuals (such as migrant workers or Native Americans), where either type of group experiences common conditions.

With Replica’s disaggregate data, which can be filtered by individuals’ demographic and economic attributes, it’s possible to conduct analyses that fit either or both of these definitions.

The federal government has already released some data that can support this work, including GIS shapefiles of disadvantaged communities and EV charging locations from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center.

Replica’s activity-based travel data is designed to be integrated with these datasets and others, allowing planners to analyze the travel behaviors of residents within these defined disadvantaged communities. Having the dynamic travel behavior of these residents — and not just their static home locations — allows agencies to more accurately evaluate whether or not 40% of the NEVI program benefits people who live in disadvantaged communities.

To demonstrate, we created an interactive map for the Illinois Department of Transportation that shows low-income travel behavior along I-80, a federally designated Alternative Fuel Corridor. The map highlights low-income commuters’ work locations (yellow clusters) and home locations (teal clusters) along I-80.

This clustering analysis method enables planners to identify sites that maximize NEVI program benefits for residents in disadvantaged communities. For example, if planners seek to prioritize EV infrastructure near places of work along the corridors that support disadvantaged communities, they should consider sites in Morris, Ottawa, Peru, Princeton, and Geneseo based on Replica’s model.

Replica’s models include other useful attributes as well, including a household’s private auto availability, consumer spending at gas stations and parking facilities, land use (and housing dwelling type), and more. These data points can all be used to measure a plan’s outcomes against program guidelines.

Analyses like this give public agencies additional muscle power to understand the impacts of infrastructure investments in disadvantaged communities, as outlined under IIJA.

Further, comprehensive, disaggregate mobility and socioeconomic data with privacy protections can help address urgent needs around these inequities and help take the guesswork out of infrastructure planning while attracting federal investment to build more equitable and resilient places.

Read more: A Data-Driven Approach to Equitable EV Charging Infrastructure

Online retail spending looks quite a bit different: Ten states saw increases of 20% or more, while another 14 saw a decline in real terms. Ten states were more or less flat, posting less than 2% change in either direction. The average among states was an increase of 8.3%.

It’s worth noting that February 2022 was an especially volatile moment for the supply chain, which may have affected consumer spending behaviors in unusual ways. Alaska’s large decrease, in particular, may be connected to disruptions in shipping across the U.S.-Canada border.

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