Transportation & Mobility
Moving ourselves and our goods and services from place to place is energy intensive while the vehicles we use for that mobility are material resource intensive. In addition to transportation vehicles, off-road equipment like construction, recreational and lawn equipment consume significant amounts of fossil fuels for their operation.
In Skokie, the Transportation and Mobility sector accounts for 35.4% of community GHG emissions and is projected to decrease as the transportation sector electrifies.
Transportation & Mobility Strategies
Below are the specific Transportation & Mobility goals outlined in the 2022 Environmental Sustainability Plan. Clicking on one of them will display the list of actions to be incorporated into the Village's workplans. They are broken down into completed, in-progress, and future and progress is updated quarterly.
- Decrease community-wide VMT by 5% by 2030 through increased biking, walking, shared mobility, and eMobility.
- Continue seeking funding for a new Transportation Plan. When funded, that plan will update additional documents and policies accordingly and in support of the goals of this Environmental Sustainability Plan, including the Village's comprehensive plan and non-motorized transportation management.
- Achieve "Bike Friendly Business" designation from the League of American Bicyclists for Village of Skokie facilities and operations. Promote biking, walking, carpooling and other forms of alternative commuting to Village employees.
- Promote and cooperate with school districts to expand and implement Safe Routes To Schools Implementation Plan for all schools within the community. Ensure improved bicycle access to all schools in Skokie including each high school. Plan implementation should focus on infrastructure and policy changes as well as promotion of biking/walking transportation to schools through education and encouragement.
- Conduct a Sidewalk and Bike Path Quality Assessment and Master Plan to identify needs to accelerate bike paths, building sidewalks, crosswalks, and other walking infrastructure, particularly in high-need areas and areas serving vulnerable populations. Create an implementation plan establishing annual increases in the total miles of sidewalks, on-road bicycle lanes and multi-use paths.
- Prioritize transportation funding for Vision Zero engineering improvement projects paired with VMT reduction strategies to create safe streets for people walking, biking and riding transit.
- Expand existing bicycle and pedestrian safety and skills training to all school-aged children in Skokie with an accompanying program to educate parents and all interested adults.
- Provide incentives such as density bonuses, reduced parking, or expedited review for development projects that have mixed-used zoning (residential, retail and office uses) and commit to sustainable transportation practices. For example, prioritizing access by pedestrians and bicyclists, incentivizing increased bike rack availability, providing electric vehicle charging stations and discounted transit passes, as well as fee-appropriate parking.
- Determine appropriate locations for "shared streets" and car-free pedestrian zones in high-density areas. Evaluate feasibility of limiting vehicles on certain days of the week and implementing congestion parking pricing, where appropriate. Revisit the Active Transportation/Niles North demonstration on Lawler Ave. Conduct a pilot project to evaluate implementation potential and strategies.
- Promote public transportation options to Village employees, and implement a pre-tax transit benefit program for Village employees. Educate other public agencies, higher education institutions, and private-sector employees about the program and encourage them to adopt similar strategies. Goal: 15 new organizations establishing programs annually.
- Explore options to reduce cost of transit passes for all youth, households with low incomes, and individuals with restricted mobility.
- Promote and collaborate with CTA and Pace to provide increased carbon-free connection options to major transit routes and mixed-use hubs making a notable contribution to lowering transportation-related emissions. Consideration should be given to introduction of an autonomous shuttle as technologies develop.
- Increase electric vehicle utilization to 15% of community-wide rolling stock by 2030 (from approximately 174 vehicles to 8,100 plug-in and full battery electric vehicles community-wide).
- Achieve designation of "EV Ready Community" through the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus.
- Establish new and promote existing incentives and/or grants for EV charger installation and EV vehicles. Potential incentives may include strategies to offset or reimburse part or all of the increased State of Illinois vehicle sticker fee for EV cars. Prioritize charging near high-density housing and workplaces, and shopping districts and areas on travel routes (like near interstate and state highways).
- Include a No / Low Emission Fleet advancement policy in waste hauler contracting procedures which encourages waste haulers to advance utilization of electric and other no / low emission fleet vehicles and operations in support of the goals of this plan. Require hauler to conduct a GHG inventory of their Skokie operations 1-2 times during contract.
- Identify and collaborate with local partners to host ride-and-drive events to increase EV ownership by providing residents an opportunity to compare EVs to ICE vehicles through test drives. This also encourages local dealerships to stock more EVs, thus keeping business local. Showcase tools and information from vehicle manufacturers, clean air and transit regional entities, and the electric utilities. Village to showcase EV use in Village fleet.
- Partner with public and private sector fleet operators and transit providers to work towards a goal of 20% electric fleets within Skokie by 2030 and 75% by 2040. Establish collaborations to take advantage of federal transit grant opportunities to purchase new EVs.
- Explore opportunities to promote inclusion of EV chargers and alternative fuels at any new or significantly renovated gas station in Skokie.
- Establish viable renewable diesel and/or biodiesel sources to serve community by 2025. Achieve 50% diesel consumption replacement with renewable diesel and/or biodiesel by 2030.
- Conduct a No/Low Emission Diesel Vehicle Fuel Alternative Feasibility study to identify viable no/low diesel vehicle fuel alternatives, sources, and outlets for increasing no/low emission fuel alternative availability and utilization. Study to include analysis of efficiency chain and impact on land use and other communities. Study may include exploration of existing supply chains as well as potential new sources such as through a locally operated biodiesel plant or plasma gasification plant producing hydrogen or biodiesel.
- Work with gas stations to provide alternative fuels. The Village could work with existing gas stations to identify opportunities for alternative fuels as well as identifying areas for new stations, such as an EV charging station by the freeway to serve both Village of Skokie residents and through-traffic. Improving accessibility to fueling stations could persuade consumers who are worried about refueling limitations to make the switch to alternative fuel vehicles.
- Establish communication and education campaign to encourage the use of no/low emission fuels for vehicles unable to be replaced with electric alternatives.
- Collaborate with the Chamber of Commerce, community businesses, and local/regional colleges and universities to conduct a Remote Work Impact and Potentials Study identifying the advantages/disadvantages, and lessons learned by businesses in the community related to use of video/remote meetings in lieu of business travel for meetings and events. Depending on findings of the study, establish, distribute, and promote a "best practices" guide outlining the opportunities for operational savings and reduced vehicle use and encouraging effective, long-term increased remote meeting technologies.
- Explore zoning strategies to encourage work-from-home opportunities such as allowing Accessory Dwelling Units for home office use, reducing restrictions on garage structures to allow "lofting" of garages for accessory dwelling units and home offices, etc.
- Depending on findings of Remote Work Impact and Potentials Study, consider, create and implement incentives (such as free WiFi) to support increased work-from-home as well as increased capture of economic potential of the trend for Skokie businesses.
In Progress Actions
- Explore an incentive program to convert fuel-burning lawn equipment such as gas-powered lawn mowers and blowers to electric. Request support from ComEd to create a rebate program and to promote electric yard equipment.
- Establish a gas-powered lawn equipment phase-out ordinance with an established time frame for implementation.
- Explore opportunities to work with landscaping and construction industry contractors to eliminate the use of gas- and propane-powered equipment prior to the phase-out. Utilize Village newsletter and enews to encourage residents to hire contractors that use electricity or alternative clean fuel equipment or talk with their existing contractors about implementing a fossil fuel phase-out.
- Conduct a Municipal Fleet Inventory and EV Transition Implementation Plan. Identify opportunities for electrifying, right-sizing, and improving overall efficiency of vehicles to meet CAP Goals. Include implementation recommendations to incorporate EV's through right-timing purchases with a planned vehicle-replacement schedule.
- Update Village Operations anti-idling policy and increase enforcement. Support policy by compiling an "Eco Driving Guide" and distribute to all employees and include in new employee training.
- Update Village vehicle purchasing policy and budget process to default to alternative fuel with traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) as optional requiring proof of need and lack of EV option meeting use case. Develop policy to take emissions/fuel reductions into account when purchasing vehicles/equipment. Focus on small vehicles as well as large vehicles for alternative fuels. EV replacement to be prioritized for high-mileage vehicles or as guided by the Village's "Municipal Fleet Inventory and EV Transition Implementation Plan." For unavoidable approved ICE vehicle purchases, establish minimum fuel efficiency requirements.