News

Thea Walsh Presents at White House Event

December 1, 2016

Experts from across the country met at the White House this week to explore Electrical Vehicles (EV) best practices and how data collection and management can inform efforts to deploy EVs in growing regions. MORPC Transportation Systems and Funding Director, Thea Walsh presented to the experts and participated in brainstorming sessions at the meeting.

The White House Domestic Policy Council and Office of Science and Technology Policy convened its first-ever Electric Vehicle (EV) Datathon. This event, held in partnership with the Department of Energy and four of its National Laboratories brought together EV experts, charging-station providers, cities and states, automakers, and the software-development and data-analysis communities.

“It was truly an honor to represent MORPC and our members in this important meeting at the White House,” Walsh said. “I was there to share our collaborative transportation planning efforts with Smart Columbus and that our growing region prepares itself for Electric Vehicle infrastructure projects.”

The group explored best practices on how data can inform efforts to deploy EVs and charging stations and how data collection and management can serve the growing EV community. They also focused on how the EV industry will deal with consumer confidence issues. Buyers want to know that the EV’s range is sufficient and charging infrastructure is easily accessible. Addressing these concerns will enhance EV batteries, produce more chargers on highways, and improve travel options for residents.

The emerging field of data science is already creating widespread benefits in transportation such as real-time traffic alerts, crowd-sourced information on road conditions, digital citizen feedback on infrastructure through 311 systems, and a wide array of new “smart cities” technologies. Walsh shared with her peers at the event how important the new vehicle specifications and the changes in automobile usage habits will be to regional modeling efforts that ultimately assist cities, regions and states in making funding decisions.

USDOT developed the Smart City Challenge as a response to a report, issued in 2015, revealed that the nation’s aging infrastructure is not equipped to deal with a dramatically growing population in regions throughout the country.

With Columbus wining the Smart City Challenge and the expected growth in the region, Central Ohio is at the forefront of transportation infrastructure projects and new technologies. One thing is certain, a lot of planning and work lies ahead.