National Connecticut Day: Implementing Innovation and Electric Vehicle Charging
The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) is helping drive high-tech innovation in the field. In honor of Connecticut’s national state day, today we celebrate CTDOT’s leadership in helping advance an overall culture of innovation in connected project delivery and for charging forward with electric vehicles.
State Transportation Innovation Councils (STIC) Incentive Program
CTDOT has been a leader among its peers in taking advantage of the State Transportation Innovation Council (STIC) Incentive Program, a Federal Highway Administration program that emerged from its Center for Accelerating Innovation.
CTDOT began the use of STICs back in 2015 when the agency introduced e-Construction into field inspection applications using mobile devices. Since then, with a single exception, they have maximized the use of STICs every year and implemented a variety of innovative practices through FHWA’s Incentive Projects. Over the years, CTDOT’s STIC group pioneered the advancement of the EDC-4 Initiative e-Construction. Moreover, the agency worked to further the use and state of practice of Unmanned Aerial Systems. In 2021, CTDOT developed comprehensive video instructions for the Compass Operational Process and advanced the use of 3D modeling for digital as-builts and asset management.
The STIC charges states with assembling a committee to evaluate innovations and drive their implementation. Agencies can provide workshops, demonstrations, trainings or other programs to assist in the advanced use of cutting-edge practices. FHWA encourages states to build state-of-the-art practices into their culture and systems. In addition, FHWA has an incentive program that makes up to $100,000 per fiscal year available to agencies who need help offsetting the cost of standardizing these innovations.
Connecticut’s Charging Ahead Plan – Electric Vehicle (EV) Fast Charging
Connecticut suffers from some of the worst air quality in the country, but the agency is taking proactive steps to decarbonize the transportation sector.
Taking advantage of the FHWA National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program, CTDOT unveiled a new plan this summer to expand electric vehicle charging. CTDOT’s vision is to have a multi-year comprehensive outline to catalyze the expansion of reliable, safe, and accessible EV fast charging networks. Working closely with other state agencies and stakeholders, the state plans to develop a fast and comprehensive charging network. CTDOT does not intend to own and operate the statewide charging network. Instead, they aim to provide competitive NEVI grants to both public and private entities who will be responsible for the installation of public charging equipment.
According to CTDOT’s plan, the transportation sector in Connecticut is responsible for around 38 percent of economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions, and more than 66 percent of nitrogen oxides. The state hopes the “Charging Ahead” plan will accelerate EV adoption and deployment, provide equitable access to EV across the state, and ensure the EV network is easy to locate. They also hope to boost range confidence and engage stakeholders throughout the development and implementation process. Through involving key players, the agency is looking to maximize investments that can complement other available funding streams or programs.
CTDOT hopes the grant agreements will be approved by October, so they can draft program procedures and protocols in quarter one of 2023.
Sources: FHWA, CTDOT