'Electric Avenue'

Charging Into a Fossil-Free Future

The City of Pittsburgh aims to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030. This goal requires substantial changes in traffic management, a willingness to consider different ways to travel, and transitioning away from fossil fuels. The ‘Electric Avenue’ project will be the beginning of a much larger transition, including operating a completely fossil-free public fleet by 2030.

Cella Neilly, bus rider

“I think the people are really nice here… when you meet people on the bus… here people ask you how you are and they actually want to know the answer, you know it’s like kind of a cool thing.”
– Cella Neilly

Pittsburgh will create a clean energy-transportation corridor along Second Avenue extending from the Downtown Business District, past the Pittsburgh Technology Center (PTC), to the ALMONO site in Hazelwood. The ‘Electric Avenue’ project includes the purchase of a new electric vehicle (EV) fleet to be parked and charged at the City-owned Second Avenue parking lot coupled with direct current (DC) charging stations. These charging stations receive power through a solar canopy tied into the local district energy microgrid.

The City, U.S. Department of Energy, and the National Energy Technology Lab signed a historic agreement to research, develop and deploy district energy and microgrid systems throughout Pittsburgh.

  • The City has a $5 million budget to purchase 10 electric motorcycles, 81 electric sedans, 14 electric medium-duty SUVs and 107 Level 2 charging stations over a three-year period beginning in 2017.
  • The City and the Parking Authority will install 25 Level 2 charging stations on a DC microgrid. In addition to providing clean energy, the system will build resilience and function even if the alternating current (AC) grid goes down. The charging stations will be open to the public during the day and will recharge the City of Pittsburgh’s Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections (PLI) vehicles at night.
  • SmartPGH will also leverage wireless communication technologies, built on an IPv6 protocol, in partnership with Duquesne Light. The wireless communication network at Second Avenue will support the site’s charging stations, LED lighting, and smart utility meters. This strategy will corroborate how an IPv6 network could also provide a city-wide Internet of Things (IoT) network platform to support an expanding array of services and monitoring capabilities to drive significant improvements in energy efficiency, water conservation, transportation and traffic management to create a more livable, sustainable and economically vibrant Pittsburgh community.