Lay a practical path to replacing carbon-based fuel consumption and inspire action to protect and sustain the environment through decarbonization and electrification. 

Paul G. Allen Family Foundation Grant

The Goal

Measurably decrease greenhouse gas emissions created by light-duty transportation in the Columbus region.

The transportation sector is one of the most significant generators of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Reducing emissions therefore presents a significant opportunity to impact climate change and foster sustainability in our region. This was the vision of the $10 million Smart City Challenge grant awarded to Columbus by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

In 2016, more than 82 percent of commuters in the Columbus region drove to work alone in a car, and just 0.37% of vehicles sold in the seven-county region were electric vehicles. With the Columbus region projected to grow by 1 million residents by 2050, if our reliance on single occupancy gas cars continues, we’ll experience even more congestion and pollution in our city. 

Therefore, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation grant portfolio focused on five priorities that together work to measurably decrease greenhouse gas emissions created by light-duty transportation in the Columbus region:

  1. Decarbonization and grid modernization 
  2. Fleet electric vehicle adoption
  3. Expansion and adoption of multimodal transit
  4. Consumer electric vehicle adoption
  5. Expansion of charging infrastructure

In May 2020, Smart Columbus concluded delivery of the grant program, announcing that more than 3,323 EVs were sold in the seven-county Columbus region from April 2017 to February 2020, exceeding the program's goal. Consumer likelihood to purchase an EV also grew by more than 20% during that period, suggesting sustained growth to come. During the grant period, sales reached as high as 2.34% in Q4 2018. Transitioning 3,323 vehicles to electric is estimated to eliminate about 1,850 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent of planting over 30,000 trees to sequester carbon during a 10-year period.

“We are proud to deliver on the bold goal of this groundbreaking program, which has served to make our community more sustainable, our businesses more resilient, and our infrastructure more future-ready,” said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. “As we look to our future, continued efforts to electrify mobility and decarbonize electricity will be critical to addressing the challenges we face, as they directly support resident health and wellness, and help to drive economic development and shared prosperity.”  

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