Thursday, October 5, 2023

2023's Greenest Cities in America

 My commentary in WalletHub's ranking of US green cities.

Honolulu ranked 2nd out of 100. Reno did well at 33.

Should cities invest in going green? What are the benefits?

Environmental and transportation solutions need to be tailored to an area's specific characteristics. Solutions for Tokyo are likely less suitable for Chicago. Cities with acute pollution issues should focus on smart city mitigations targeting pollution, such as electrification of bus fleets and incentives for EVs. Cities with acute traffic congestion should focus on smart city congestion mitigation, such as adaptive traffic signal management and intelligent time-dependent road pricing.

What policies or investments offer the biggest bang for the buck?

Smart traffic management for both arterial streets and freeways is the most common low-hanging fruit with moderate costs and substantial congestion and pollution reduction. Priority lanes and traffic signal preemption for Bus Rapid Transit are cost-effective smart city improvements for public transport.

How can state and local authorities attract renewable energy companies and other green businesses?

By incentivizing the electrification of transportation, substantial new demand is generated which creates a need for power supply, which in turn, makes the establishment of new renewable energy suppliers welcome. A conducive framework for power purchasing agreements needs to be in place.

What are some easy ways individuals can go green without much cost or effort?

Several smart home solutions are affordable and effective in reducing power and fuel consumption. Hybrid light-duty vehicles are presently the most cost-effective choice for commuting and highway travel. Unfortunately, recycling is more of a feel-good initiative than an effective green option given that less than 10% of what is put into recycling collections is actually recycled, reused, or repurposed.

In evaluating the greenest cities, what are the top five indicators?

A generic list may serve as a guideline, but each city needs to focus on its most acute issues and deploy smart solutions that its taxpayers can afford, for mitigations.