Aerial photo with a blue overlay. Photo shows a vibrant tree-lined city street with a bus lane, multiple pedestrians crossing, and several cyclists. White text reads electric vehicles and smart growth.

We can advance electric vehicles and smart growth at the same time

Transportation is the largest energy-related source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, and emissions reduction models consistently show that electrification is essential to getting us to zero transportation emissions. These models also show that EVs don’t get us there fast enough.

To draw emissions down quickly enough to meet targets, we need to remake our transportation and land use system to be less car-dominated at the same time that we electrify. So, how do we push transportation electrification forward in a way that supports essential smart growth goals?

In this resource, we share strategies in the zero-emission fleet transition which work in concert with smart growth. Together, these efforts will not only reduce emissions fast enough to achieve our climate goals—they’ll also lead to healthier, thriving communities.

This resource was produced by Transportation for America, a program of Smart Growth America. Transportation for America co-leads the Coalition Helping America Rebuild and Go Electric (CHARGE). Learn more about our efforts to steer the EV transition.

Get the basics: Three key takeaways

Here we lay the groundwork for our seven-part series, explaining why EVs are essential, though insufficient, to advancing our climate goals. We provide three essential lessons for anyone interested in advancing EVs and smart growth at the same time. Read them here >>

A black EV charges on the side of a tree-lined street. In the background, a construction crew in orange vests mingles on a wide sidewalk with bike parking.

Share the spark with EV carshares

EV carshare is an effective strategy to speed the transition to zero emissions transportation, provide more affordable transportation options, and sync up with other smart growth solutions. This strategy is worthy of public investment. Learn more about EV carshare >>

A black SUV is plugged into a charger at a numbered parking spot inside a parking garage.

Leave the gas station behind with charger-oriented development

Charging an EV is fundamentally different from fueling a gas-powered car. It’s time to co-locate charging infrastructure with existing communities in an approach we call charger-oriented development. Learn more about this approach >>

Two men stand, chatting, beside a car while it's getting plugged in to charge.

Why NEVI needs an upgrade

The $5 billion National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program is an important investment in the build-out of the nation’s EV charging infrastructure, but decision makers aren’t taking full advantage of the benefits EV charging can offer. Learn more about finding the right locations for NEVI charging stations >>

A black sedan charges near a large building

Charging up EVs: Bridging the apartment gap

With the electric vehicle transition, access to transportation options like transit, walking and biking needs to come first. But—for smart growth and equity—equitable access to charging for apartment dwelling car-owners is an essential part of the picture. Learn more about access to charging for apartment dwellers >>

A woman leans against her EV while it charges outside of an apartment building

Don’t curb your e-thusiasm: Charging and the curb

Besides parking, there are many demands for limited curb space: loading zones, parklets, streateries, bike lanes, bus lanes, bike parking, bikeshare stations, and more. Communities are navigating brand new territory as they figure out how they can balance on-street charging with all other uses. Learn more about charging at the curb >>

An electric scooter charges at the curb in front of a warmly lit storefront at night

Catching the e-bike wave

Electric bikes have enormous potential to deliver affordable clean, healthy, and space-efficient transportation to the masses, but the feds and too many other leaders are passing up this opportunity in favor of electrifying the status quo. Learn more about how we can catch the e-bike wave >>

A man with dark hair and sunglasses rides a Capital Bikeshare bicycle down a painted bike lane near a treelined sidewalk.

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