Webinar: Community Engagement in Transportation (Text Version)
This is a text version of the webinar Community Engagement in Transportation presented on April 11, 2023.
Steve Lommele, Joint Office of Energy and Transportation: All right. We've got a critical mass joining here, so we can go ahead and get started. Welcome to today's Joint Office webinar focused on Community Engagement in Transportation. We've got a great host of panelists for you today, and Monisha Shah is going to be introducing them here in a few minutes. But wanted to start out with some quick housekeeping items.
So first of all, we are going to be taking questions today via the Q&A feature in Zoom. So controls for that are located at the bottom of your screen. If they aren't appearing, you can go ahead and hover over the bottom edge, and you should be able to see a Q&A feature, and you can go ahead and submit questions there during the webinar, and we'll be taking those later on.
We are also going to be recording today's webinar, and it will be posted on the Joint Office website. So if you do speak during the webinar or use video, you are presumed to consent to recording and use of your video or image.
Our agenda for today is we are going to start out with a brief introduction of the Joint Office, and then we're going to cover important topics like Equitable Cities. We're going to hear from the Arizona Department of Transportation, the Oregon Department of Transportation, Greater Washington Clean Cities, Louisiana Clean Fuels, and then we'll have a facilitated discussion at the end.
So I want to start out quickly and just make sure you all are familiar with the Joint Office. The Joint Office was established under the bipartisan infrastructure law and brings together to the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Transportation to address areas of mutual interest and also align the technical expertise and resources across the two organizations.
And our mission is really to accelerate an electrified transportation system that is affordable, convenient, equitable, reliable, and safe. And we're doing this so that, ultimately, we can create a future where everyone can ride and drive electric.
So the Joint Office is supporting four key programs. We provide guidance, technical assistance, and analysis to support the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program, and this is $5 billion that goes to state departments of transportation to support the buildout of a national EV charging network.
We also have the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Discretionary Grant Program. So this program was recently announced, and we are accepting applications, proposals for the Discretionary Grant Program. And this is $2.5 billion to support community and corridor grants for EV charging, as well as hydrogen, natural gas, and propane fueling infrastructure. So the deadline to apply for this program is May 30, and we're looking for local units of government, state governments, and tribal governments to submit proposals for the CFI program.
The Joint Office also supports the Low-No Transit Program, under DOT, and the Clean School Bus Program, under EPA. So if you visit driveelectric.gov, we've got a host of resources and information on these four programs, and we are here to provide you with technical assistance. In terms of technical assistance, we do provide specialized assistance to states, communities, tribal nations, transit agencies, and school districts.
We've been doing one-on-one meetings with states - all 50 states plus Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. We have a concierge service on driveelectric.gov, so if you have specific questions, you can visit the Contact Us page - submit your questions, and we'll route those to a subject matter expert who can assist you - and, really, a whole host of additional technical assistance resources available on the website to help you with these programs as well as the rollout of EV charging infrastructure.
So, again, visit driveelectric.gov; that's the online home of the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation. We will be posting a recording of today's webinar there. And we also have a newsletter. So as we post the recordings, we reach out to those who have subscribed to our newsletter with a link to the recording of the webinar.
And then, also, if you ask a question today that doesn't get answered, we do encourage you to submit that, again, via the Contact Us form on driveelectric.gov, and we will get that answered for you. So please do subscribe to the news alerts, and follow up with us if you have a question that isn't answered.
So we're going to move here to the panelists in just a second, but I wanted to give our executive director, Gabe Klein, an opportunity to say hello to all of you. Gabe has been with the Joint Office for the last - gosh, it's been over eight months now. Gabe [INAUDIBLE] with you.
Gabriel Klein, Joint Office of Energy and Transportation: Not quite. Not quite eight months. I think I'm just starting my seventh, but.
Steve Lommele : Yeah, but for a good portion of the Joint Office's existence.
Gabriel Klein: Yes.
Steve Lommele: And previously, Gabe was with CityFi, which is a private company that was focused on helping communities address transportation mobility issues. And then Gabe also served as the director of the Chicago Department of Transportation, as well as the Washington, D.C., Department of Transportation. So he's got a lot of relevant experience to the programs that we're supporting, and he's a wealth of information as well. So, Gabe, why don't you kick us off here?
Gabriel Klein: All right. Thank you, Steve. And thanks to all of our panelists, by the way, who are taking time out of their day to share their experiences for the benefit of everybody in the country that's tuning in. We really appreciate it.
As Steve said, one of our priorities here at the Joint Office is to support the planning and implementation of EV charging infrastructure, and NEVI and the CFI Grant Program are really important pieces of the puzzle to build a national network, but they are very different.
And they're going to be employed to ensure benefits for disadvantaged folks for all Americans, whether they're in a rural area, an urban area, a suburban area. And that means whether they are drivers or riders, and whether they make $200,000 a year or $10,000 per year. We need to serve everybody, and this needs to be a truly national network.
So to deliver those benefits, ongoing meaningful community engagement has to be a critical component of deploying EV infrastructure. Because we're talking about rebuilding our transportation system in some ways almost from the ground up, right? And so this is an opportunity to make sure that it does serve everybody equally.
And to do that, you have to actually talk to people in their communities, in their businesses, and create awareness, identify their priorities, their concerns, and then to determine the who, what, where, why, when in terms of the deployment of the EV charging stations. So our mission, as Steve outlined, in the Joint Office is to provide resources to support the planning and implementation of charging and zero emission fueling infrastructure.
To that end, we recently launched the JUST Lab Consortium comprised of three national labs to conduct actionable research on integrating equity into federally funded EV infrastructure deployment efforts. So our office, in collaboration with the JUST Lab Consortium, will share equity best practices and provide technical assistance resources on approaches for conducting meaningful ongoing community engagement.
And they've really curated this stellar panel today, and I'm excited. I'm excited for them to share their experiences, both positive, negative. We all have failures and sometimes we can learn as much from the failures as the successes. But they've worked in communities, in states designing and implementing community engagement efforts for clean transportation infrastructure.
So we'll be hearing from Equitable Cities, an urban planning public policy and research firm - I know Charles well over there (he's a great guy) - two state departments of transportation, and two representatives from the awesome Clean Cities Coalitions. And this will be focused on practical approaches for and lessons learned on community engagement strategies.
So with that, I'm going to turn it over to my colleague, Monisha Shah, to talk more specifically about why community engagement is critical to achieving these national priorities. Thank you.
Steve Lommele: Thanks a lot, Gabe. And, Monisha, we did have a couple of poll questions, too. Maybe we'll just take a quick second here to have Justin pull those up, give us a sense of who's on today's webinar. Justin, if you could pull up the first question.
What sector are you from? So we'll give folks here a chance to answer. We're just understanding if you're from a local regional government, tribal government, utility, nonprofit, those kinds of things. So as you're answering those questions, just give you a second. And then, Justin, we've got a critical mass, if you could show us results, please.
Great. Looks like we got a good mix of local, state, and federal, plus some folks from the nonprofit sector, as well as utilities, EV charging, network operators. Great to have you all with us today. And Justin, do we have a second question, please?
What region of the country are you from? So on these webinars, we've had good representation from across the country, even a few international folks as well. So go ahead and put in your response there. And, Justin, once we've got enough responses, if you could show us the results, please?
Oh. Great. Good representation again. So glad to have you all with us. And I think that's our last poll question for now, and Monisha will have some more later. So with that, Monisha, we'll turn it back to you.
Monisha Shah, Joint Office of Energy and Transportation: Sounds great. I'm just going to share my screen here. Can you see that all right?
Steve Lommele: Yep.
Monisha Shah: OK. Awesome. Well, as Gabe mentioned, we've got a really great panel today. I'm just going to reintroduce them with a little bit more specificity. So myself, Monisha Shah. I'm with the Joint Office leading the equity portfolio.
Charles Brown, he's with Equitable Cities. He's the founder and principal. It's a minority- and veteran-owned urban planning, public policy, and research firm focused at the intersection of transportation, health, and equity. He's also an adjunct professor at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.
Then we're joined by our colleagues from two state DOTs. We have Daina Mann from Arizona DOT. She's the communications assistant and director of community relations at the state DOT. And she's also joined by her colleague, Dianne Kresich, and she serves as the EV project manager for the Arizona DOT.
We also have Brett Howell from the Oregon DOT, and he serves as the transportation electrification coordinator for the Oregon Department of Transportation. And then we're also joined by two of our colleagues from two Clean Cities coalitions: Antoine Thompson is the executive director of the Greater Washington Region Clean Cities Coalition, and Tyler Herrmann, who is the project manager and director of Louisiana Clean Fuels. Great panel today.
So I'm just going to give a little bit more context on why community engagement is so critical to implementing the BIL clean transportation programs that Steve and Gabe discussed. And with that, I'll get to the next slide.
So as Gabe mentioned, we are witnessing a historic infusion of federal funds for clean transportation in our country. And based on some of the historic inequities that we've seen with federal transportation programs, and especially how they've affected underserved and disadvantaged communities, we have the great opportunity this time to really get it right.
So to ensure that we intentionally design our transportation system so that everyone can ride and drive electric
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also creating wealth in underserved communities, increasing access to this generational investment in the nation's infrastructure, their hands-on technical assistance, and increasing social and economic opportunity for disadvantaged and underserved communities through affordable, multimodal transportation options.
The BIL clean transportation programs must also adhere to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which mandates that no person shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation and be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under, any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. And one of the major focuses of working on Title VI is meaningful public participation and engagement.
Another key initiative that the Biden administration has undertaken is the Justice40 Initiative. Both the NEVI program and the CFI Grant are Justice40-covered programs, and so the Justice40 program is focused on ensuring that the benefits of these federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities. And, again, the focus, especially at Department of transportation for these programs, is to ensure that communities are being engaged as the Justice40 Initiative is being implemented.
So I wanted to give a little bit more detail on some of the BIL programs that we've been talking about. So for the Federal Highways National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure grant, this is a formula grant program that goes to state DOTs. And so for the year two plans, those will likely be due later this summer.
And in the minimum standards that were published earlier this year, state departments of transportation are required to complete a community engagement outcomes report. So further information will be provided from federal highways hopefully later this summer on what that will entail and look like.
Also, NEVI funds can be spent on community engagement activities, and we really encourage you to go to driveelectric.gov to check out state plans and how states have been considering and thinking about implementing effective community engagement to support the implementation of their NEVI efforts.
Next, the charging and fueling infrastructure grant is a competitive grant program, also a federal highways program that recently was released. Applications are due May 30. From the notice of funding opportunity, there's a lot of information about what federal highways is looking for. And, in particular, they will prioritize highly recommended and recommended projects that demonstrate exceptional benefits on criterias 3, 4, and 5. Criteria 4 does ask for projects that include meaningful public engagement through a project's lifecycle.
Another interesting aspect of the CFI grant is that up to 5% of the grant award can be spent on educational and community engagement activities in conjunction with - and to develop and implement education programs through - partnerships with schools, community organizations, and vehicle dealerships to support the use of zero emission vehicles and associated infrastructure.
And then lastly, the Joint Office also has a competitive grant. The notice of intent was released earlier this year and will likely include a community benefits plan. So what do we mean when we say that we're looking for meaningful and ongoing community engagement. Some considerations for implementing meaningful community engagement might be to establish or co-create goals in conjunction with disadvantaged or underserved community members for the community engagement process.
Another key aspect of implementing meaningful and community engagement is to also identify which communities should be involved, and being as inclusive as possible. The Joint Office in conjunction with department of energy and department of transportation published a EV Justice40 charging map, and that could be a starting place to identify disadvantaged communities in your region, state, or locality.
Another aspect of meaningful community engagement is to create space at the table. What does that mean? Community members oftentimes may not have key or specific roles in the decision-making process, and trying to engage them and give them clear opportunities and roles in the process also enhances their ability to have a voice in the process.
Last week we were looking at creating an ongoing process. So for programs such as the NEVI program, which is a five-year program, the charging and fueling infrastructure grant, those might be multi-year projects, trying to think about the entire project lifecycle and how a process could be developed for that full time frame.
And then, lastly, looking at a commitment to effective implementation. So we know that, at least, in the federal government, we're all running at the speed of trust to try to get these programs implemented. Everyone has got a lot on their plate, and we realize that folks in communities and state and local government also got a lot on their plate. And so just trying to think about how you can bring in experts, commit resources, and ensure that you can be effective in your community engagement by thinking really hard about how you can implement the community engagement work.
And so when we talk about a process, here are some of the steps that can be considered. And we did talk about this last summer in our equity webinar, and so you can find the recording which goes into more detail there, and I think Charles will touch on this in a lot more detail as well. But, again, using some of the maps that have been developed both nationally and locally for identifying underserved and disadvantaged communities. Providing education and information so that folks understand what is the technology and what are we talking about.
Receiving input from communities on their priorities and concerns, and publicly summarizing that input so that folks feel like you're reflecting back what you heard from them. And then also communicate program design decisions and how you incorporated that input into how programs were designed and implemented. And then as you're going through the process, especially for implementing Justice40, validating with communities the benefits that are being received, and then updating the program design to reflect where course corrections need to be made.
So here's a great example from the Pennsylvania State DOT. In their NEVI plan last summer, they did a great job of outlining who they met with to inform the state NEVI plan. They also gave examples of some of the questions and discussion points that they were trying to get input on from community members and a broad range of stakeholders.
Then they also tried to summarize publicly in their plan what they heard from the different stakeholders that they met with. And then lastly, they reflected back then how those specific input points and feedback were used to design and implement - design their NEVI state plan. So this is a great example of how one organization tried to look at this holistic process and use this information to inform electric vehicle infrastructure planning.
So I just want to talk about, really quickly, two resources that are available to folks as they're trying to go about implementing effective community engagement. So the JUST Lab Consortium was recently launched. We're working with three national laboratories, National Renewable Energy Lab, Argonne National Lab, and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and they're undertaking a number of actionable research efforts to inform how we can incorporate equity into EVSE infrastructure planning and implementation. And so you can go to the driveelectric.gov website to learn more.
And then lastly, I just wanted to mention that our colleagues at the Vehicle Technologies Office at department of energy have been working also with the national labs to create the Clean Cities Energy and Environmental Justice Initiative. This has been ongoing since last year, and they've had three phases of work to basically provide resources and training to Clean Cities coalitions across the country on how they can partner with local community-based organizations and conduct efforts to achieve equitable outcomes for clean transportation efforts.
So we really wanted to highlight the recipients of the phase 3 - the participants of phase 3 of the Clean Cities coalition effort on EEJI, and they are really focusing in on getting a community engagement liaison, and they'll have a bit more resources to help folks conduct community engagement efforts on clean transportation infrastructure planning and implementation. So with that, I want to turn it back to Justin because we've got a couple of poll questions, and I will stop sharing my screen.
Justin Rickard, National Renewable Energy Laboratory: All right. Give me just a second here. I'll bring up the first one. There you go.
Monisha Shah: So work with community - Clean Cities on community engagement, have you worked with the Clean Cities coalition on clean transportation efforts in your region? In the past, plan to in the future, you've partnered with the coalition but not specifically on community engagement, or, you don't have a coalition in your area, other, or, I don't know.
The Clean Cities coalitions are a great resource, and they're getting trained up in the space, and could be a really great resource for folks. So should we - whenever you're ready, Justin, we can go to some of the answers. All right. It looks like there's a wide range of experience of working with Clean Cities coalitions here. And the good news is we've got two of our Clean Cities coalitions on this panel, so you can hear more from them directly about what they've been doing. So we have one more poll question, Justin.
Justin Rickard: Yes. The next one is on equity.
Monisha Shah: All right. Addressing equity. So who are you connecting with now or in the future to meaningfully address equity in your state NEVI plan or EV infrastructure deployment efforts? Clean Cities coalitions, community-based or environmental justice organizations, housing or social service organizations, minority- and women-owned businesses, tribal governments, workforce training organizations, or other.
And, again, Justin, whenever you're ready to share any of the answers. I feel like I'm on a game show, and I need to spin a wheel or something like that for the answers to pop up.
All right. Oh, it sounds like folks are looking to or planning to potentially work with Clean Cities coalitions. A lot of folks focusing on CBOs and environmental justice organizations, and also workforce training, and yeah. I got a good mix of different answers here. Well with that, I think I'm going to turn it to Charles, our resident expert and colleague. So take it away, Charles. It's great to have you here.
Charles Brown, Equitable Cities: Thank you, Monisha. One second. All right. Good evening, everyone. Again, my name is Charles T. Brown, and I'm with Equitable Cities. Today I want to talk to you about best practices and community engagement and involvement, and to build on what was shared by Monisha earlier.
To do so, this presentation, the outline will consist of first setting the context of why community engagement is important in advancing electric vehicle supply equipment. We'll then go into defining and understanding what community engagement is, followed by identifying barriers and challenges to community engagement, highlighting best practices in community engagement, and then highlighting specific strategies used in community engagement.
Once we cover that, then what we'll do is dive into a hypothetical case study on effective community engagement strategies to advance electric vehicle supply equipment in underserved communities, which many have stated could be a challenge to them, and then, of course, a conclusion before I hand it over to my colleagues.
So what's the particular context that we find ourselves in? As you know, electric vehicle supply equipment refers to the infrastructure that is required to charge electric vehicles. And community engagement is a very important aspect of deploying electric vehicle supply equipment as it involves engaging with local communities to understand their needs and concerns, and to build relationships based on mutual respect and trust.
And why is this important? Well, because, currently, there are a number of negative perceptions of EVSE, and those negative perceptions further necessitate the need for understanding what community engagement is or should be. And so some of those things or those barriers include upfront costs.
EVSE installation has been perceived as being expensive, particularly for the fast-charging stations, and in areas where electrical infrastructure upgrades are required. And these high costs or perceived high upfront costs of EVSE can be a significant barrier for some communities and businesses, particularly in areas with limited funding for EV infrastructure.
Then there's range anxiety, or the fear of simply running out of battery charging while driving. This has been noted as a concern for many EV drivers and nondrivers alike. As there's the limited range of electric vehicles and the availability of charging infrastructure, this can make it challenging for those drivers that currently use EVs or those drivers that are looking to use EVs, particularly those traveling for long distances or making unplanned trips.
Then they feel that there is a lack of standards out there. And the lack of common standards for EVSE can be a significant barrier to deployment. Many have stated that there are different manufacturers using different charging connectors and protocols, which can make it challenging for EV drivers to find charging stations that are compatible with their vehicle.
Then there's permitting and regulatory barriers. Many feel that these could be very complex and time consuming, particularly in areas where local regulations are not well defined or are subject to change.
There's also limited access to charging infrastructure. And this could be a significant barrier, not only from an EV adoption standpoint, particularly in areas with limited public charging infrastructure, but also in areas that are historically low-income, Black, Brown, or just simply minority and underserved communities.
And then lastly, unfortunately, there is a lack of public awareness. And the lack of public awareness can lead to misinformation, disinformation, or a lack of trust in the deployment of electric vehicle supply equipment. So this further necessitates the need for community engagement.
And other barriers include concerns around affordability. The lack of infrastructure, particularly in these communities, those being underserved communities and the populations that lack access. Then there is awareness issues. Many people in underserved communities and populations may not even be aware of the benefits of electric vehicles or the availability of EVSE. And I want to emphasize the may not be, as we don't want to pathologize a community.
And then there are system inequities. As we know, there are - historically been challenges around historic redlining, housing segregation, as well as exclusionary zoning practices that can limit the ability of underserved communities and populations to access these resources in this infrastructure.
And then lastly, there are those that feel that there's a lack of policies or regulations that incentivize the installation of EVSEs in underserved communities and populations, where this could be a barrier for them accessing it, as they feel that without any financial incentives, grants, or policies that they are less likely to receive the infrastructure. So all of this together, these barriers, whether perceived or real, lead to a greater understanding of or a greater need for the understanding of and the execution around community engagement.
So what is community engagement? Community engagement generally refers to the process of building relationships and fostering collaborations with members of a particular community. It is not, however, about a one-size-fits-all approach. As you build the relationships and foster the collaboration with community, you further understand the needs and not have a one-size-fits-all approach, which I'll get into next.
But it is also a long-term and ongoing effort to develop strong ties between organizations and individuals within a community. And as we know, the goal of community engagement is to establish, most importantly, a sense of trust, mutual understanding, and shared responsibility between community members and organizations, and this could ultimately lead to better decision making and outcomes for everyone involved.
Lastly, community engagement can be done in various forms, and we're going to talk about some of those next, such as community forums, town hall meetings, stakeholder consultations, and other activities that aim to involve people in the decision-making process.
Thankfully, the U.S. DOT has put together, I think, is a great document on meaningful public engagement and involvement. Because if you're going to do engagement, it has to be meaningful. And the U.S. DOT defines meaningful public involvement as a process that proactively, not reactively, but proactively seeks full representation from the community. It considers public comments and feedback and incorporates that feedback into a project or program or plan.
And so when we're looking at public engagement, it has several features. The first feature of which is to understand the demographics of the effective community. The first step that you should do is understand your community demographics. And I would go so far as saying this matters not just in public engagement and involvement, but in all of the work that we do, too, or as part of our transportation decision-making processes.
The second thing is building durable relationships with diverse community members outside of the project lifecycle to kind of understand their transportation needs and their wants. And it's important that we document those needs and wants accordingly.
Thirdly, it is to proactively involve a broad representation of the community in the planning and the project lifecycle. I mean, think about how often we say the community is burnt out from engagement. A lot of times that has to do with us going to the same people over and over again. So please be sure to proactively involve a broad representation of the community. We also want to understand the community wants and needs as I stated here.
And then fifth, use community-preferred engagement strategies. What this gets to, again, is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Once you understand the community demographics, you understand their wants, their needs, and have built durable community relationships through a broad representation of the community you did want to create or use that community's preferred engagement techniques.
And then lastly, throughout the entire process, it's imperative that you document your community input and you discuss how it has impacted the final project, the programs, and the plans. And then be sure to communicate with the community about all of your decisions as well as how their input was used.
And so what this takes us to, then, is understanding what are some best practices in community engagement. Well, community engagement as you know is a critical component of any successful initiative to promote EVSE. And so here I'm going to walk through some best practices for community engagement, particularly within the context of EVSE.
It starts with, once again, identifying stakeholders. This can include individuals, community groups, businesses, and government agencies. And these stakeholders can provide valuable insights and feedback on EVSE needs and can help shape the development and implementation of the EVSE initiatives.
Next is about building trust. Building trust is essential for community engagement in all partnerships and relationships. And what this simply involves is being transparent about your goals, your timelines, and potential impacts, as well as actively listening to feedback and addressing concerns. What this can do is help build a sense of ownership and investment in the project among community members. And I'm going to talk about it here later how you can build that trust by showing you the various forms of trust.
But for now, next it's important to remember to tailor outreach to the community. Now, this could include, as we stated earlier, holding community meetings or workshops, or not, leveraging social media and other digital platforms, or not, and partnering with local organizations to raise awareness about the benefits of EVSE. And so you might ask, why do I say, or not? Because, again, it's all very community-centric. So it depends on which community you're engaging with of which this outreach you would tailor, or how you would tailor it.
Then there's prioritizing equity. Prioritizing equity and development in implementation of EVSE is so essential to ensuring that all members of the community have access to the benefits of EVs. And this can include identifying and addressing barriers to EV adoption in low-income communities and underserved communities as well.
And then lastly what we have is about evaluation and adaptation. It is important to regularly evaluate the effectiveness of community engagement efforts and adapt strategies as needed. And so what this can involve is collecting feedback from community members and stakeholders, tracking your engagement metrics, and adjusting outreach strategies based on the feedback that you receive.
It's imperative that you keep track, and that you find out what the demographics of those are, who you have engaged, so that you can see how well you're meeting your diversity and inclusion goals. In some effective ways, then, to build trust, I talk about number two, the importance of building trust. You may ask, well, how do we actually build trust?
Here are some noted ways throughout the literature in terms of the ways that you can build trust. It starts with, though in no particular order, cognitive trust. So to build cognitive trust in EVSE deployment, stakeholders should be transparent about its project goals, its timelines, and its potential impacts.
And like I stated earlier, this can involve providing data on the benefits of EVSE, such as reduced emissions and improved air quality, but additionally, you should demonstrate your competence and your reliability by following through on your commitments and delivering on your promises. Because one way to lose trust is to not deliver on your promises.
Next we have affective trust. And building affective trust involves building those personal relationships we talked about and these sort of emotional connections with stakeholders. And what this can involve is community meetings and workshops to gather that feedback in a more intimate setting, as well as involve community members in the decision-making process.
Lastly, you should build a sense of shared purpose and common interests around these benefits, such as improving the environment and reducing dependence on fossil fuels as many of the communities, particularly lower-income communities and overburdened communities, share this as a concern as well.
And then there's institutional trust. Building institutional trust involves demonstrating the legitimacy and the fairness of your institution and why it's involved. And then lastly here, two quick other important forms of trust. Interpersonal trust is about partnering with these local businesses and organizations, and then deterrence-based trust. For this one, this is one that you don't want to use primarily, but secondarily, and you want to use it as a backup mechanism.
And the reason being is because this involves creating clear consequences for a noncompliance with EVSE deployment policies, such as fines, fees, or legal actions, and so you want to be careful about how you're advancing that form of trust. Which takes us to the end, what are some strategies that can be used to engage communities?
Well, first and foremost, identify communication channels. This may include community meetings, social media, and others. You want to develop that engagement plan, which Monisha talked about earlier, along with stating what your desired outcomes are around the engagement. You want to provide training and capacity building. And what this does, again, is help to build trust and ensure that everyone is informed. Because a lot of the pushback on the deployment of such infrastructure has to do with the misinformation and the disinformation that perpetuates conversations.
Next you want to ensure diversity and in conclusion - inclusion, I meant. This creates inclusivity and the representativeness that is needed among the community voices. And then lastly, always ensure ongoing feedback and evaluation.
And so what that takes us to, then, are some methods that can be used to engage community. And this includes just a brief list as I'm sure as technology continues to transform the way in which we engage in person as well as virtually, you could see that there are a multitude of methods that you can use. From briefings, to social media, to visual preference surveys, to scenario planning, canvassing, and video recording, surveying, and voting as well.
But while you're doing this, please keep in mind that you're going to need some community-oriented stakeholders to assist you with your efforts or in your efforts. Here's a list of the types of community organizations - community-oriented stakeholders that you can go to for that partnership, that collaboration that is needed.
And so once you have an understanding of this, the ways in which that it can be applied, I'll demonstrate here in this case study on effective community engagement strategies to advance EVSE in underserved communities.
So in this particular context, the background is that we all know electric vehicles are an important tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve air quality. And the benefits, though unfortunately, so far have not been equally distributed. And so what we're finding is that low-income and underserved communities have stated, whether real or perceived, that they have limited or less access to EV charging infrastructure.
So the challenge becomes for you in this hypothetical situation, how can you use these community engagement strategies to then advance and document EVSE in underserved communities. Well, it starts, again, with understanding the community. So in this particular case, what you would do is you would understand who the community is, and in this case it was a low-income, predominant minority community with limited access to transportation and mobility.
And so what the project team was able to do here is through a community survey meeting, they identified that transportation was a major barrier for community members to access jobs, education, and other services. This then led to the project team engaging with local community organizations, including a neighborhood association and a youth program to establish trust and build relationships, and they used a variety of communication channels, such as community meetings, social media, and targeted outreach to community leaders.
And then they lastly collaborated to help local organizations identify potential sites for EVSE deployment and ensure that the project aligned with the community goals. What this led to, then, too, is their understanding around the need to diversify and make this process more inclusive. So they recruited diverse stakeholders to participate in the process, and this included, not only community members, but business owners and representatives from local organizations.
And they provided training on EV and EVSE to community members so that they can, again, deal with misinformation or disinformation that is present. And they used a multitude of strategies to effectively move forward with engagement, and that included developing that engagement plan, providing regular updates to the community, and then refining as they received feedback what they've heard from the community to refine the project and ensure that the needs of the community was met.
And ultimately, some of the challenges that they came up with was the concerns, again, about a lack of funding, costs, and the inequitable benefits associated with the deployment. And so they faced initial skepticism from the community, but this had a lot to do with the unfamiliarity with EVs, et cetera. And so at the end, they provided education and outreach, and they were able to secure funding from a variety of sources to cover the cost.
And what this best demonstrates, again, is that effective community engagement is going to be critical - not will be, but is going to be critical to advancing the deployment of EVSEs in your community as well. And so what I want to do now is hand things over to Daina and Dianne, my colleagues at Arizona DOT. Thank you for your time.
Daina Mann, Arizona Department of Transportation: Well. Thank you very much for having us today. My name is Daina Mann. I am the community relations lead for Arizona DOT. And with me I have Dianne Kresich, who is ADOT's EV infrastructure project manager. And then I also wanted to acknowledge - I believe Thor Anderson is also here. He also served as the project manager for the EV plan implementation. So thank you, again, for having us to go over our public involvement plan for the EV plan.
So ADOT hired AECOM as our prime consultant for the plan, and they also assisted with the public engagement - implementation of public engagement for the plan. And we have some very specific goals that we wanted to accomplish for this plan in terms of community engagement.
So we wanted - there were a lot of details, a lot of requirements on the plan, a lot of information about types of chargers and things, and we wanted to make sure that we could get informed input by really breaking it down for the public on the objectives, what analysis we were doing, EV charging basics, and those types of things, as well as the timeline for development and implementation.
And we wanted to - as Charles alluded to or mentioned in his presentation, we really wanted to secure participation from a broad cross-section of Arizonans, both geographically and demographically, as well as key stakeholders who are interested specifically in EV development.
We wanted to gain insight on EV use, and barriers to use, as well as what their propensity for purchasing an EV would be under certain conditions, and really understand the public's priorities related to the EV network station siting, amenities, prioritization of corridors, those types of things, as well as understand those concerns from the public.
So as those of you with DOTs may recall, we had a very tight timeline to implement our plan and develop our plan. There was an August 1, 2022 plan submittal, and there was an option to defer public involvement past that plan submittal time frame. But in Arizona, we felt it was very important to have input prior to development and submission of the first plan.
So we did a really quick initial outreach effort in the last summer - part of the plan submission - to really educate people about what NEVI was, what the requirements were, understand what preferences were related to EV adoption, and really help to prioritize those initial alternative fuel corridors for the initial EV network on the interstates.
So we conducted a virtual public meeting, and had a call-in option also for that meeting for those who couldn't participate online. We also had a virtual stakeholder workshop, which also had a call-in option. And we did a lot of surveying. So we did an online public survey, as well as an online stakeholder survey.
And Dianne and Thor took many, many, many one-on-one meetings and calls with key stakeholders from the EV industry - so vehicle manufacturers, charging station manufacturers, and even, like, vendor subsuppliers, EV advocacy groups; also, utility companies, local jurisdictions, state agencies - really ran the gamut to really understand, again, what the priorities were, what the concerns were, what our thoughts were as well on implementation, and their thoughts.
And then among those were - we had a lot of calls with various tribes in Arizona. And tribes are critically important here in Arizona. We have 22 tribes. 20% of our highway system crosses state lands. I think about 1,200 miles of the state highway system. So we did do a lot of outreach with tribal communities.
And then once we submitted the plan, the next phase was to share the details of that plan, including where the charging - where the alternative - the EV corridors would be, and the charging - the new charging stations on those corridors, as well as where we were going to be upgrading existing charging stations to meet the NEVI standards. And then helping to prioritize those other future quarters that were outside the initial interstate system. And then just seeking general input on the EV plan implementation.
So this time we did a series of in-person public meetings throughout the state for those who couldn't participate virtually or preferred to participate one on one, and that gave us some really great face time with community members and just an opportunity to have a little bit more in-depth engagement with folks.
And then at those meetings, we did provide - and also the virtual meetings - Spanish interpretation as well as Navajo interpretation. We did another online public survey, again, to help prioritize those corridors and do some - ask some questions about implementation, continued our one-on-one stakeholder meetings and calls, and outreach with the tribes.
We had a variety of ways that we notified people regarding the NEVI plan and seeking input. We established a website, firstname.lastname@example.org, and put all of our materials up there and information. We did ads throughout the state and statewide publications, Spanish publications, as well as in the local communities where we were having the meeting, and several different tribal publications for the state's largest tribes.
We have a really robust email marketing GovDelivery system with hundreds of thousands of people subscribed to various corridors, and we used that to help promote the meetings and the plan. We used social media, news releases, and then, also, we asked our stakeholders to help spread the word to their constituencies. So tribes, local jurisdictions, MPOs, different - again, EV advocacy organizations spreading the word about the meetings and also the survey link.
So just some quick results. We had over 700 attendees at our series of in-person and virtual public meetings. We had more than 2,500 responses to our three surveys that we did, the stakeholder and the public surveys. And just bear in mind, we had a lot of questions in the survey, and we had a very high completion rate.
So people were very, very interested in providing their input. It was pretty impressive to see. We had more than 3,000 people sign up for our email list and answered more than 400 email and caller inquiries. And then, at least, 60 one-on-one individual stakeholder meetings that Dianne and Thor had with those various key stakeholders.
Just in terms of results - and on the right it shows you a map of Arizona with various counties and zip codes. And so we asked people when they participated to provide their zip code so that we could do this map to see where people participated to make sure that it was a broad representation. So we did get, overall, a good representative population throughout the state.
And you can see, the darker areas are where we got more participation, and those are, generally, in the more populated areas. But you can also see even throughout the more rural areas of the state, which are on the outskirts, some good population there as well. And we did overlay that participation with the Justice40 disadvantaged community map just to see whether we did get broad representation from disadvantaged communities.
One thing we did find, though, and we're going to be working on strategies for the next round, is we did get a little bit lower participation from some minority groups versus their representative population throughout the state. So, for example, we have a high percentage of Hispanics in Arizona. It's about 31% of our population, yet overall, we had probably about a 12% participation rate among Hispanics.
So, again, we'll be looking at that. That is somewhat of a trend that we see overall. And so, again, we'll be continuing to look at ways to address that. But overall, we were very happy with the overall engagement rate.
Dianne Kresich, Arizona Department of Transportation: Daina, before you leave that slide, could you say a little bit about the difference between our public survey and who we were targeting with the key stakeholder's survey. We have a question in the chat.
Daina Mann: Oh, sure. No problem. So the regular - the public survey was, again, just for the general public, and we asked, again, a lot of different questions and did skip logic and things like that. And then the key stakeholders were, again, more so the EV industry, tribes, utility companies, just various stakeholders with a very direct interest in implementing the plan. And so that was really the difference. And, Dianne, if you want to expand on that, but.
Dianne Kresich: No. That covers it. Maybe we don't use the terms exactly like others do. We see the public as a subset of overall stakeholders. They're all stakeholders in the process.
Daina Mann: Yeah. And so this other story was a little bit more of what we call a key stakeholder survey, meaning they might have a direct involvement in the implementation.
So a few insights that we learned from the public from the survey and other methods. We did have a high participation level from current and potential EV users. In the two surveys we did, the first survey we had an even higher percentage rate. It was closer to like 50% owned an EV and about a little bit more than that of those that didn't. About 58% did, but in our second survey it was 36% and 34%, respectively.
So, again, very high either existing or a high propensity for use, and the factors holding back an EV purchaser are pretty much what the goals of the NEVI program are, which is just the ability to travel long distances without having that range anxiety, purchase price of a vehicle, and just the convenience of charging an EV. So, again, some of these will be addressed. That's why we're doing this program.
And so there was a very strong desire to expand the EV network beyond the interstates for access in rural and tribal areas, but just really expand it overall everywhere. It can't come soon enough for a lot of people. One thing we did hear is if you have to prioritize, if there's not enough funding, have more stations versus more amenities at the stations, but at the same time, shade, as you can imagine, in Arizona, it's a really big thing for us.
And the safety and security of people at the charging stations, particularly if they end up being in any remote areas without a lot of amenities. Although people did say, put them in places with amenities, that's where really where they make sense. And then provide things like pull-through stations for trailers since, obviously, there's more EV trucks on the road now, so people want to see that. And, again, like I said, they want to see them near existing amenities.
And then the other thing that we learned is that EV is very polarizing for people. People either love EVs and want to expand it, or they think it's just the worst idea ever. So there were some concerns among some folks that the EV stations - expanding the EV stations would have a negative impact on the electrical demand. They have environmental concerns about battery disposal and those kinds of things.
Also, an impact - concerns about impacts to ADOT revenues to maintain the highway system since users aren't paying a gas tax, and that's where we get a good portion of our money. And then there are some concerns from key stakeholders about the feasibility of EV charger installation in some of the more remote rural areas without adequate utility infrastructure.
So I just wanted to show you really quickly - again, the image on the left is from our first survey where we were asking people to prioritize the interstate corridors, and the second is asking them to prioritize non-interstate corridors on the state highway system for future AFCs. And the team, on the one on the right, we're getting ready to include those in our next submission.
But we did do - the team did a prioritization ranking that included the public's ranking of these corridors along with other factors, such as travel demand and things like that, and then used that to help rank those corridors. And so we'll be explaining that in our next round and then mailing those.
So last slide. So our next phase, essentially, of our outreach is this spring and summer. We are going to be doing our next round of input for the 2023 EV plan update, and we'll be announcing those - the non-interstate AFCs and the prior prioritization of those, as well as having a separate effort related to disclosing, essentially, the charging station pricing strategy and having public hearings for those.
So for the EV plan update, we'll be doing another virtual public meeting, and then having some focused meetings, key stakeholder meetings with the tribes and other MPOs or local jurisdictions and utilities. Whatever the case may be, the key stakeholders, basically, within those various corridors. And I did want to mention that eight of those corridors are on tribal lands. So, again, we'll be having more meetings with those tribes.
So with that, I don't know if we - I think we're going to open it up to questions at the end just for time's sake. But, again, thank you for having us. Unless we take questions now, I think - I think it was at the end. So, Dianne, anything else you wanted to mention before we conclude?
Dianne Kresich: Well. I am taking note of some of the questions, but we're waiting till the end then we'll wait on those. And I wanted to put some emphasis on what you had already said about the importance of the input we received at last year's round of engagement into the new alternative fuel corridor selection, and therefore into the new EV plan.
We learned through that process that the prioritized corridors really touch on a lot of our tribes, eight tribes I believe. So next year we're going to be fine-tuning our engagement, learning from the past experience, and just really building the knowledge as we go through this process.
Daina Mann: Well, Thank you very much. And with that, I'll turn it over to Oregon DOT.
Brett Howell, Oregon Department of Transportation: OK. Perfect. Thanks so much. Well, first of all, I just want to say thank you for the invitation to be here speaking with you all today. My name is Brett Howell, I'm the transportation electrification coordinator for the Oregon Department of Transportation, and we're always happy to be here talking about our community engagement efforts related to the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program.
So first of all, I just wanted to go through our goals when we outlined our community engagement effort. The first goal was to provide a high-level overview of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program. So to provide the public with some of the basic understandings of the program, such as stations needing to be spaced out every 50 miles and within 1 mile of an interstate exit or highway.
We also wanted to facilitate collaboration among key stakeholders. So this meant involving regional transportation planners and working with city and local officials that represent communities likely to receive charging station for our year one corridors. We also importantly wanted to solicit input on what the public would like prioritized in the development of these NEVI charging stations, and to learn about what the public was most excited about, and what concerns they had related to these NEVI stations coming to their communities.
So before we touch on some of the details on this slide, I do want to mention, Oregon really began its community engagement efforts related to electric vehicle infrastructure in 2021 with the Transportation Electrification Infrastructure Needs Analysis study. We just call it TEINA, it's a little bit easier to say. So TEINA was a diverse 17-member advisory group, which held four public advisory group meetings and 12 stakeholder information listening sessions.
We then used this TEINA model and extensive input as a starting point for our expanded five-year program related to community outreach for the NEVI program. So in 2022, related to the NEVI, we held two informational webinars for the public that were attended by close to 500 individuals. We also held five targeted information and listening sessions with roughly 115 to 120 participants.
And these were really for utilities, EV service providers, social - excuse me, environmental justice organizations as well as the public. They were welcome to attend as well. They each had roughly 25 to 35 participants in those. From June 2022, we also launched an online survey, which you can see some of the results on the screen in front of you. So those results were roughly 600 total survey respondents, close to 400 of which are current EV drivers, and we did identify 90 potential site hosts in that survey as well.
One of the things I always like to point out, and I'm sure that as you go about your community engagement efforts and go through these survey processes you'll hear something similar is the public's excitement for these DC fast charging stations. Roughly 75% of the respondents indicated this need for DC fast charging. So that really speaks to this need for these NEVI stations.
For 2023 - we'll touch on these each individually in coming slides, but I'll just say we did launch an online open house. We held a series of in-person community as well as virtual meetings, and we presented to our area commissions on transportations for representing our year one corridors.
I'm aware that not every state has area commissions on transportations, but in Oregon, essentially, these are advisory groups chartered by the Oregon Transportation Commission that address all aspects of transportation with the primary focus on the state transportation system. So they deal with regional and local transportation issues that affect the state system, and with other local organizations dealing with transportation related issues as well.
So if you were to have gone to our ODOT online open house, which we launched in January of this year and ran until the end of March of this year, this is what you would have seen. We actually ended up going with three individual surveys, one for each of our three year one corridors.
So for us, that's Interstate 5 south of Eugene to the California border; US 97 which connects Oregon with Washington and California through the middle and more rural portion of the state; and then Interstate 205, which is in the Portland metro area and has a high adoption rate of EV drivers already.
So we asked them - we provided a potential for 30 possible responses ranked on the scale of very important to not important, and we also allowed written responses because we wanted these responses to inform the writing of our request for proposals as we move through with our contracting processes.
These are some of the survey responses that we received through that online open house. So roughly 132 total survey responses, similar to the 2022 engagement surveys, the majority of which were from EV drivers. Some of the top responses that I wanted to highlight for you all today was 80% of the people responding ranked, in their top two choices, the importance of these stations giving them more confidence that their EV can get them where they need to go, really addressing some of that range anxiety.
I'm sure in other states as well, but in Oregon there are currently rural charging deserts where there really are no too limited options for EV charging. 88% of the respondents also indicated that safety features, such as 24-hour lighting or security cameras were very important, and 75% of respondents indicated that connecting rural or smaller communities to the greater EV charging network was either important or very important as well.
So for our in-person and virtual community meetings, we held these - nine of these actually along our year one corridor. So, again, I-5, US 97, and I-205. From the last week of February to the first week of March, we held these - we intended on all nine of these to be in-person, but unfortunately, the Oregon winters were not all that cooperative with us for the last four. So we did have to transition those to being virtual.
We held these meetings at different times of the day. So some were earlier in the afternoon, some were in the evening. We wanted to be as open and equitable as possible with the access to the ability to engage on this issue. I will say attendance at our in-person community meetings was not as high as we'd hoped, and moving forward, we will be looking to engage at existing community meetings rather than asking people to come out and engage specifically for the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program.
Some of the consistent themes that we did here were to consider geography and climate. Again, emphasizing the importance of connecting rural Oregon or rural communities in general to the broader EV charging network to make sure that these stations are reliable and well maintained. I'm sure that that's something that all of you on the call are hearing as you go about your community engagement platforms.
And then, again, utilities that came up continue to encourage us to engage early and often with utilities as well so that they're not swarmed with requests as these RFPs and contracts move forward. I'll just say, too, there's the benefit of doing in-person community engagement is it does open the door not only specifically to NEVI-related conversations, but it opens the door to other conversations as well.
So for us in Oregon, we do have a few other electric vehicle charging programs. So one of them is the Community Charging Rebate Program, and it really addresses more of that multifamily need, and much of the funding is set aside for rural Oregon as well. So at some of these community meetings, while some of the questions weren't addressed by the need that NEVI is addressing, some of them were able to be addressed by others.
And it opened the door for potential partnerships. My colleague - I believe, Zechariah Heck is on the call with us today - had a great conversation with an individual who represents an EV driver's association about potentially partnering with communities that are in more rural parts of the state that aren't going to be receiving NEVI funding but could potentially benefit from something like the Community Charging Rebate Program. So those doors will open up when you're out in the community and speaking with people.
That is my last slide, and I'll leave my contact information up here on the screen for just a second if anybody does want to follow up with me or ask any questions. But, again, I appreciate the time today.
Antoine Thompson, Greater Washington Region Clean Cities: Thank you all for being here. Antoine Thompson with Greater Washington Region Clean Cities in D.C. We cover D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. And I'll just give you some quick high-level overviews. If you want to reach out to us, I'll put my email in the chat. We have been involved with community engagement and DEI work for well over 20 years. You can go to the next slide.
All right. Just some quick things. I know a lot has been talked about, but I strongly encourage you, if you're trying to reach some of the underserved areas, this is, I think, a great model of some of the interest groups that you might want to engage. Clearly, some of your elected officials, some of your neighborhood groups, a lot of transportation and EJ groups, some of the - always, I love the faith-based organizations.
There are some of the trade unions. There's a coalition of Black trade union groups as well. And, again, a lot of transportation and EJ groups that could be very, very helpful in terms of - as you think about people that you want to engage with.
One of the things that we often try to do is engage with some of the civil rights groups because many of them are out there trying to fight for equity on a regular basis. So we work very closely with our local NAACP, and they give us a lot of advice and guidance.
We also have a number of listening sessions, that's one of the hallmarks of our engagement strategy. We do some by ourselves, we do others like the Sierra Club and other organizations as well. We'll go to the next slide.
So this is really important, as Charles was talking about earlier, as you build trust. There was an Ipsos polling result that came out in December of 2022, and it showed that Black and Latino communities are very skeptical of EVs, and I think part of that is because a lot of folks don't trust car companies. Then you have utilities that are typically unpopular in communities of color.
And when you think about power outages, I noticed even living in a Black middle class neighborhood, our power often comes on later. So range anxiety is a redlining, utilities, people paying too much for gas and now they think they'll be the same for their utility bills, which are already too high.
So I think a combination of those factors, and also the fact that Black and Brown communities, especially Black communities, have not really been advertised to for the last 10 years for EVs. And I'm hearing more commercials on radio. Since the Super Bowl last year, you're starting to see more, but there's still not a lot of information.
So many people - every time we have a community event, I ask people, how many of you have driven an EV, or knows - has a family member that owns an EV. 9 out of 10 times or more, usually 10 out of 10, they do not have a family member that owns the EV, and now with ride share, more people are actually getting in some of the ride shares.
And then there's also the perception about every - so many people think to get an EV, it's got to be a Tesla, and that's just so false. So listening sessions are really important. I think trying to get more content and engagement on social media. Surveys are always good. We're doing a big survey. We've been working on it since last year. And so we're going to release those results in the fall as well. We can go to the next slide.
So we have been all around the country doing things. What we try to do is have diverse speakers, although you'll see one event - shout out to our biofuels folks. I know we talk about electrification, but I want to give a plug. We try to make sure when we're in the community we advertise with some of the community publications. We also try our best to make sure that we're having different speakers that reflect the diversity, everything from Latinos, to women, to men, et cetera.
And we also do a lot of information tables to get out there. We run about five different EV programs. And so we try to be out in the community - outreach tables getting feedback as well, and we come up with a number of digital forms that people can fill out if they would like an EV charge.
And we run a level 2, a level 3 program, and so that's also pushed us, and each of those programs - and electric school bus program, also those have equity components to it. And we use the equity mapping tool, which I strongly encourage everyone to use, that Argonne put together, and that we support.
The last thing that I would say - I think go to the last slide - is thank you for being here today. Create original equity EV working group. We have an equity working group, but there's a broader EV working group that was put together that we sit on, which I think is a very good idea.
But the number one thing is building trust. Getting out in the community. People need to see the vehicles, or they need to see people that look like them speaking at their forums. Also need to see folks that look like them driving some of the vehicles as well, and I think those things are really, really important. Take care. Thanks.
Tyler Herrmann, Louisiana Clean Fuels: Good afternoon, everybody. Tyler Herrmann, a project manager for Louisiana Clean Fuels. I don't have any slides, and I'll keep it pretty brief because I know we have a lot of good questions to get to. But I think that there are some really important things to consider and to keep in mind in addition to what the other panelists have said today about community engagement.
And I think one is just that there is a spectrum of engagement. There is simple stuff like doing, basically, outreach and education that is just putting information before people and letting them do with that what they will, and that's the lowest level of engagement. And then there's all the way to the other side of things, which is maybe sitting down with those community members and doing an active mapping tool that will actually inform what you do with your program, and that's the highest level of engagement.
And it's really important with any program to determine which side of that spectrum you want to be on, and what your goals specifically are. And that's going to come from what type of program you're doing. So for the NEVI program, I know that different states have done it differently, or have decided to do it differently.
In Louisiana, we're doing a pretty open request proposals for applicants across the state to put in chargers wherever they're applying for them along our corridor system, and that's largely because we just don't have any chargers or many chargers across our state, and there are lots of reasons why our state has chosen the approach that they have.
And so maybe a mapping tool doesn't work with that. So engagement looks very different for that type of program. And understanding where you want to lie on that spectrum is really important based on your program design. So determining your goals up front with any of this is really, really important.
Now, I know we're talking a lot about NEVI today and our states have all published their state plans as of August 1 of last year, but this is a continuing program and states need to update their plan every year. And so going along with what, I think, Daina said in her presentation, doing continual engagement and feeding your next update of that plan is really, really important. And this means that we have five years to do this right. So being proactive about everything is really, really important.
So it was said a few different times, but knowing your relevant stakeholders is really important for community engagement. And I think that that comes from recognizing that on a state level or really any organization, you don't have access to really, really deep access to every single community that you need to for your community engagement. But you don't have community members in every single community who live there and breathe there and work there to really understand every single person and every single community that you want to work with.
So having relevant stakeholders in all those communities who do live there and do own the problems of that area is really, really important. So identifying relevant stakeholders like Antoine showed in his asset map is really, really important, and making sure that they're invited to the room whenever you're having discussions with them and doing community engagement.
Using those existing networks is both really valuable because you don't have that insight without them, but, also, they can tell you what sort of communication works for those communities. Looking at the type of engagement you're doing, whether it's through a webinar, or through in-person meetings and understanding, well, does this work for those communities is really important.
Because there are systemic exclusions that can come from how you do your engagement. If you're doing a webinar and that's your main thing, these virtual meetings or virtual town halls for community engagement, you're excluding communities who don't have access to internet, or you may be excluding those communities.
If you're doing centralized public meetings and they're in person, is there ride share? Is there transit to those communities? Have you set up ways for community members in underserved communities who may not have access to good transportation - are they actually going to get into the room? Are you hosting all of your meetings during the day? They're in a workday, so families have a hard time getting there because they're working in those time periods.
So really understanding and looking at your engagement methods and trying to determine which systemic issues might come from that, whether you're systemically excluding certain communities or systemically prioritizing certain communities through your actions is really important.
Because there can be a lot of knock-on effects that you may not have thought about despite having all of the correct intentions with it, if you're not choosing really thoughtful processes for doing community engagement, you may be accidentally excluding people who have been excluded all throughout history, and that's the problem that we're trying to address with these programs and with the Justice40 program.
I also want to mention that we're focused on equity, and that's coming out of the Justice40 program. There are lots of ways to check the Justice40 box, especially with just working within a disadvantaged community according to the mapping tools that Argonne National Lab developed. But if you look at our interstate network - and I'm speaking especially from a Louisiana perspective or the southeast perspective - if you look at the interstate map and look at the disadvantage community map, they like just 1-to-1 match each other.
So it's almost impossible not to put a charger in a disadvantaged community, and that can give an easy check mark for the Justice40 program or Justice40 Initiative without actually doing any good equity work, and without actually meeting the spirit of the goals and do what we're trying to do, and solve some of these transportation issues that we've caused, the equity issues there.
So we're really taking that extra step and saying like, are we actually doing the work that we want to do? And how we do that is really, really important, and not just make it a checking-the-box thing. That's such a really, really important for this type of work.
But making sure that you're not letting those metrics become the actual focus as opposed to equity being the focus, I think, is incredibly important through these programs. There's a lot of money that we're directing, and it's really important to do everything really thoughtfully, and spend the due diligence and due time for that.
And then the last thing that I mention before I end my bit is that these people are asked for their input very often. These communities are asked for their input really often. They're taxed with this sort of thing. Pay them - here in the south, at least, at the very least, feed them. We do some of our best fellowship and learning from each other over food. So at the very least to try to feed people for their time. That's really, really important so that they, at least, get something out of it.
And they need to know that their feedback to your program is actually being implemented somewhere. And that's a huge portion of building that trust that Charles mentioned at length. So feed and pay people for their time, and make sure that they understand and can see the direct impacts of the feedback that they provide, and that it's actually meaningful so that the people who own the problem, which is bad air quality and bad transportation access, also own the solution, which in this case is electric vehicles and infrastructure.
So I will leave that out of my time, and I'll put my email address in the chat box if anybody wants to reach out. Thank you.
Charles Brown: Thank you, Tyler. I think we have time here for several questions. So give me an opportunity to pull those up. Panel, if all of you could come on camera that would be great. First question, either of you can take this. How can front line communities be compensated for their time to enable meaningful engagement if the applicant does not have existing budget to provide compensation? So would one of you like to state how you've been able to compensate people for their time? Antoine, did you come up?
Antoine Thompson: Yes. So one of the things that we were able to do - and we're actually doing this with Tyler's group and Louisiana next month - we're doing a fleet equity event. We were able to get some private funding, and we're doing something in New York City and one in D.C. as well, and we're going to be - we gave them a grant and anyone that shows up, even if they're private or public sector, community sector, et cetera, we're going to give them a little stipend, $75.
And I think, as Tyler indicated, a lot of times people are so used to showing up for free, sucking all the energy out of them, nothing ever happens. So I think you can find private sector organizations, you can find public sector organizations, or you can find unrestricted dollars that you may have that you can get to be able to give folks a little bit of something. Whether it's a debit card or cash.
Sometimes debit cards could be a challenge, too, sometimes. A check can be a challenge because if they don't have a bank account, then they've got to go to a check cashing place, and that can be a barrier. So you've got to know your community as well and listen to them because you might think you're doing something good, and then you give them $100 and $10 of that is going to a check cashing place. So you got to look into the number of those different things as well.
Charles Brown: Got it. Let's move on to another question. Either of you can answer this one. How do you engage new stakeholders with the language barrier? How have you all overcome that? Populations with language barriers, new stakeholders. Go ahead, Brett or Daina.
Daina Mann: I'll go ahead, sorry. I was getting ready to raise my hand. Well, as I mentioned in my presentation, we did have Spanish translators available as well as Navajo translators. And so when we have in-person public meetings, we do a language card if somebody shows up and they speak another language. But we do - we have a requirement to provide translation if we identify a stakeholder.
So, again, this has been mainly through our public meeting process. I don't know if we had a key stakeholder, like, a one-on-one meeting with someone with a language barrier, so I'll let somebody else address that. We typically would just - if we did that, we'd just provide - hire a translator and provide that direct translation and interpretation.
Charles Brown: Thank you. I agree with [inaudible] also, are using college students from those backgrounds. I've gone to college students quite often for - or are helping to address language barriers with communities and populations. Let's go to one more. How can we ensure frontline communities are not overburdened with requests to engage? How do you deal with burnout from overburdened communities?
Brett Howell: So I'll jump in on this one, and I'll just say that that actually is something that we heard and something that we're going to be revising moving forward into our years 2 through 5 plan.
One of the things that we heard was-- especially from environmental justice organizations was that for a long time they had been asking for this funding. Well, now this funding is here, so do they need to really show up and make their voice heard if it's a federal program with strict rules that apply to it?
So moving forward, we really want to emphasize the fact that the reason we're there is so that we can inform the writing of our RFP, and that it does matter, and that we can score points based on the input that comes from the community. And we also want to work on getting on the agenda for existing community meetings, and really build those relationships, and not just show up for a single meeting, but build those relationships.
So working more closely with our Office of Social Equity and Civil Rights is something that we're going to do a lot more closely moving forward through year 2 and 5five.
Charles Brown: Thank you. Tyler, go ahead.
Tyler Herrmann: Yeah. I think there's a lot to this question, but I think one aspect of burnout comes from the feeling that the work that you're putting into it isn't actually going to make any change and isn't actually having an impact. So a huge portion of it is building that trust and showing exactly how the community members feedback and how their engagement is going to matter, and making it matter.
Not just showing it, not just trying to get feedback, and say, here's how it's going into the plan. But actually show it and actually do stuff with that. And that builds trust for the future for future programs, which means that you've already done the groundwork for later, which makes your job easier in perpetuity, although it's a constant struggle. But, also, it's benefiting those communities.
So if you're actually doing engagement with the actual impact or actual desire to make change that engagement, just making sure you communicate that and having that upfront, show them what you're going to do with it upfront before you engage with them so that they know what their expectations will be, what the results will be. And then following up on that, and making good on your promises can help with the burnout issue.
Charles Brown: Thank you. Next question. Quickly rapid fire for each one of you. What remains your most difficult challenge as it relates to community engagement within this space or this context? What remains your most difficult challenge around engagement in this context, Tyler, Brett, Dianne, you could start, Daina. Daina - Dianne, I mean.
Dianne Kresich: Well. I would say truly reaching that cross-section of our population as Daina had mentioned, and I know we're not the only state that faces that challenge.
Charles Brown: Thank you.
Dianne Kresich: Rather than just specific segments of the population who do choose to participate.
Daina Mann: And just to add on to that, I think with the statewide program, it can often be challenging to really have the time and the budget to do a really comprehensive effort at a local level like that. That can be really challenging, again, from a time and budget perspective. Whereas it's a little easier on a specific project, but a statewide program is a little more challenging that way because it is very intensive.
Brett Howell: I'll just say recognizing that there's equitable access issues to electric vehicles in general. So figuring out how we can continue to get input from communities who are have lower rates of adoption for electric vehicles, that's something that we need to work on in years two to five, and we're aware of it, and we'll be adjusting our plans accordingly. It's a five-year program, and being flexible is important.
Charles Brown: Absolutely. Others.
Tyler Herrmann: Time, bandwidth, budget, and setting good priorities in an equitable manner so that you can do the community engagement work well and thoroughly with everybody that you're reaching. And then understanding that there are millions of ways to find communities and define communities. So there are millions of communities to do outreach with, and each one of them requires specific processes and specific feedbacks, communication channels. Not very complicated.
Charles Brown: Excellent, last.
Antoine Thompson: I will give a shameless plug to Clean Cities for working with you, Charles, to train 20 people from across the country where we're going to have dedicated staff to do engagement in this space. So I think as that rolls out over the next 30 to 45 days, it will bear fruit by next year.
And if you can afford to allocate money to invest in community engagement, what gets measured, gets results, and you've got to have someone living and breathing this every day. And so I just want to give a plug to department of energy and the Joint Office for supporting the Clean Cities in this effort.
Charles Brown: Thank you all so much. On that, I'm going to hand things over to Steve. But everyone else, please join me in giving a virtual reaction to our great participants here today. Thank you so much.
Monisha Shah: I'll just close this out today. But great panel. Thank you all for joining us online. Check out the driveelectric.gov website for any questions you didn't get answered today. For upcoming news, you can subscribe at the link below, and also check out our website to see this recording and any upcoming webinars. Thanks so much, and have a great afternoon.