Publication Detail

Improving Our Understanding of Transport Electrification Benefits for Disadvantaged Communities


Research Report

National Center for Sustainable Transportation

Suggested Citation:
Bush, Kristen M., Mark Lozano, Debbie A. Niemeier, Alissa Kendall (2022) Improving Our Understanding of Transport Electrification Benefits for Disadvantaged Communities. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-22-01

Senate Bill 350 (SB 350) requires the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to direct utilities to undertake transportation electrification (TE) activities and to ensure that, among other factors, access to TE-related opportunities for low-and moderate-income communities, as well as disadvantaged communities (DACs) increase as TE becomes more widespread. This research explores the range of tangible benefits that the implementation of TE programs can achieve for DACs. The research questions examine how funds spent to date through SB 350 target investment intended to support DACs; how public and private investments in DACs ensure energy justice, transportation justice, and equity, and finally how perceptions and priorities of stakeholders inform the implementation of TE programs. The researchers collected metrics from various California sources and across the literature, and then asked stakeholders in the CPUC Service List associated with SB 350 proceedings to rank and provide their expert opinion on various metrics by their relative importance. From this information, a final weighted evaluation framework was created. The most important metrics for projects targeted under SB 350 were tangible benefits for local community members; improvements in local air pollution; transparent and collaborative community engagement; consideration of end-of-life impacts, and enhanced access to additional sustainable technologies. The least important metrics include forecasted business closures; potential for accident zones; effects on native flora and fauna; upstream impacts (i.e., through raw material acquisition or construction phases), and/or the support of distributed generation and the development of micro-grids in electrification plans. The framework developed as part of this research supports program evaluation by guiding program administrators through a set of questions designed to facilitate a detailed account of expected outcomes and potential externalities.

Key words: Disadvantaged Communities, Senate Bill 350, transportation electrification, evaluation framework