Resources for Alternative Fuels and Vehicles
Alternative fuel vehicles are becoming more and more common on U.S. roads. These fuel types include biodiesel,electric, ethanol, hydrogen, natural gas (both compressed and liquefied), and propane. But concern over the availability and convenience of charging and refueling stations may make some drivers hesitate to undertake long trips.
The Federal Highway Administration and its partners aimed to address these concerns by establishing alternative fuel corridors. These designated corridors on the National Highway System improve the mobility of passenger and commercial vehicles that employ alternate fueling technologies across the United States. For more information, see "Refueling America" in the Winter 2018 issue of Public Roads.
A One-Stop Reference
The variety of potential users of alternative fuel corridors means a lot of different questions. Where can I park my electric freight truck? Will a hybrid electric vehicle or a natural gas vehicle be more cost-effective? How can our county establish a clean freight corridor?
To help, FHWA supported a pooled fund initiative led by the Oregon Department of Transportation to produce the web-based Alternative Fuel Toolkit. The toolkit includes sections to Learn, Plan, and Act, as well as information about webinars and regional meetings. The toolkit is available at http://altfueltoolkit.org.
The Learn section provides the fundamentals of alternative fuels and vehicles with fact sheets, interactive graphics, and links to industry literature. The Plan section offers links to online tools, maps, calculators, and funding resources to help interested individuals and organizations create a plan for deploying alternative fuels and vehicles. The Act section provides additional materials including case studies, workshop summaries, webinars, and an interactive Action Guide to help users take action on deploying alternative fuels and vehicles. The team developed the resources in conjunction with a set of national workshops, so the resources reflect the latest stakeholder input and research.
How Long Is that Drive?
One of the latest tools in the program's arsenal is the Alternative Fuel Corridor Measurement Tool. Developed by FHWA in coordination with the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the tool is intended to help State and local officials analyze alternative fuel corridors in their State or region. It can be used to measure the driving distance along interstate highways between stations that meet user-selected criteria for the various alternative fuels. The measurement tool is an expansion of the Alternative Fueling Station Locator tool available from the Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels Data Center. It is available from the Plan section of the toolkit or directly at https://afdc.energy.gov/stations/#/corridors.
For more information, visit www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/alternative_fuel_corridors.
DIANE TURCHETTA is a transportation specialist in the Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty.
CARRIE BORIS is a contributing editor for Public Roads.