Chattanooga gets $4.57 million federal grant for EV management system

Chattanooga was awarded a $4.57 million federal grant Wednesday for an integrated, smart transportation management system for electric vehicles so drivers can find charging stations.

Mina Sartipi — director of the Center for Urban Informatics and Progress, one of the city’s partners in the project — said she was excited to learn about the grant, especially since matching funds from municipal and industry partners bring the total investment to $9.2 million.

“This is a three-year plan,” Sartipi, a graduate-level faculty member at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, said Wednesday in a phone interview. “This will make Chattanooga the largest urban test bed for smart transportation.”

Chattanooga’s system, dubbed the End-to-End Decision Support System for Integrated Smart Electric Grid and Transportation System Management, will accelerate the deployment of clean transportation, according to Sartipi and federal officials.

(READ MORE FROM TFP: New VW lab puts Chattanooga at center of electric vehicle efforts in North America, officials say)

The project will enable networkwide coverage to provide personalized data that can link electric vehicle users to available charging stations, and it will have other uses, too.

The city’s new system is funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration’s Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment grant. The money will pay to deploy advanced technologies to help drivers locate and manage access to charging stations.

The federal program this year awarded grants valued at $45.2 million to 10 projects using advanced intelligent transportation systems technologies that will improve mobility and safety, provide multimodal transportation options and support underserved communities, federal officials said Wednesday in a news release.

The city already has a test bed of technology in the “Smart Grid” along the M.L. King Boulevard corridor, and that gives the plan a starting point, Sartipi said. Early on in its use in 2019, the cameras and sensors along the corridor were able to detect not only traffic movement but even jaywalkers and cars that veered into the bike lane.

“The goal for this is to be able to expand the test beds that, currently, we have in the city of Chattanooga to monitor the traffic and improve the traffic management system,” Sartipi said.