Community Development Grant Proposal

Project Summary:

Our group is looking to reduce the carbon emissions of public transport in the city of Corvallis by converting existing buses to electric drive systems. The funding will be used to convert a single test bus using Long lasting Nickel Iron chemistry batteries. This converted bus will be used as a test platform to offer more data for a informed future decision on later conversions/upgrades to the Corvallis bus system.

The goal would be that this trial bus is a success and that the City of Corvallis would take note and would like to collaborate in funding. This would entail asking for further funding or fundraising with the community to raise funds for a full fleet of these buses. Along with the buses, we would get the community excited and supportive on our project by postering up an ad campaign, having a social media ad presence, and fundraising from the community via events or an online Kickstarter link. This would be just a couple of many options that would be considered in support for this team effort, our main goal is to get the conversion process going as soon as possible while remaining as productive and efficient as possible.

Corvallis Sustainability Coalition Action Plan Goal:

Choose one goal from the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition Action Plan and explain how

Your proposed project will work toward achieving this goal in the Corvallis community.

(200-300 words)

The goal from the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition: Transportation Action team that our proposal best fits is their main goal 2, which reads: “By 2040, community members will reduce per-capita gasoline consumption to 90 gallons annually, 50% below 2008 levels.” We hope to bring CSC closer to this goal with our proposal, which is for a pilot program to switch the Corvallis buses from biodiesel to electric.

This would decrease the amount of CO2 emissions from the buses, which run multiple bus routes most of the day, with some night routes. Electric, or even partially electric, would cut the emissions from the buses by at least 50%, if not close to 100%. As of 2008, we were using 180 gallons per capita of fuel, so if we can offset that by over 50% for a larger portion of the Corvallis population, we will be well on our way of decreasing that to 90 gallons per capita by 2040, which is a major improvement and one of our goals. This pilot proposal would be for a single bus as a prototype. By only converting a single bus initially, this allows us to ensure a successful implementation before investing in converting the entire fleet. It also lets us collect data to ensure we get the maximum emission reduction, and thus bringing us closer to our goal of less than 90 gallons per capita annually.

Community Partner Description:

The C.T.S.(Corvallis Transit System) aims to offer transportation to the population of Corvallis in an environmentally-friendly, inexpensive way. This organization has already taken steps towards reducing dependency on fossil fuels with the introduction of biodiesel usage in the current busses. We hope to further pursue this goal with the phasing out of I.C.E.(internal combustion engines) from use and replacing them with a long lasting Nickel Iron chemistry battery system. This would cut down the gas usage entirely while cutting down heavily on carbon emissions in Corvallis. Not only would this improve the buses, but we hope that this will inspire other forms of public transit and general transportation in Corvallis to become more efficient and safe for the environment. We think collaborating with them rather than competing is the most productive approach to this project since we’re trying to better our community and better the systems we currently have. They house a large fleet of transit busses outside of the busses on shift, so it would not be difficult to take advantage of their resources to pull one aside and experiment. This would help inspire Beaver Busses, Dial-a-bus, and the shuttles that circulate through Corvallis to follow in our lead and convert their fleets for a greener transit system.

Project Goals:

We will decrease Corvallis’s gasoline consumption and gas emissions so that by 2040, per capita gas consumption will be down to 90 gallons annually.

-Taking the Corvallis transit system and converting their gas engines into Long lasting Nickel Iron chemistry batteries so that there will be zero gas consumption.

Secondly, we will fundraise a minimum of $500,000 to start converting multiple buses after our initial prototype.

-We will do this via our advertisement campaign, and general community engagement while reaching out to local businesses and entrepreneurs.

Third, once we have a solid backbone to renovate a couple buses, we will have an endorsement with a bus company to produce our buses for us.

-This will inspire other communities to take the same initiative and produce zero-gas buses as well.

Dimensions of Sustainability:

This project is primarily environmental in focus, but will benefit social and economic dimensions of sustainability through this focus. Converting the buses will have the immediate impact of helping reduce direct fossil fuel use. This is both due to a reduction in emissions, the elimination of diesel usage, and the increased attractiveness for public transportation it will provide. Culturally, more sustainable buses will create a sense of progress and accomplishment, which will be much more local and concentrated in its affect than the direct environmental impact. This is important in connecting the project to the local Corvallis community generally. It would provide both a moral boost for existing users and also potentially attract more. More use of public transportation is also good for local ecological communities. Less traffic and road emphasis helps lessen habitat fragmentation, air pollution, light pollution, and noise pollution. Roadkill is the most obvious effect of habitat fragmentation in a day-to-day manner, but the reduction of fragmentation and pollutants is ultimately essential to preserving biodiversity and keeping ecosystem services intact. On a worldwide scale, the reduction of CO2 also of course helps ecosystems around the world on land as well as it does on sea (considering ocean acidification).

Project Evaluation:

This project will impact the Corvallis community and public transportation by reducing the carbon footprint. This will be accomplished by turning to more sustainable electric buses instead of carbon buses. Moreover, the impact will be measured by taking the current footprint of the public transportation in Corvallis and its effect on the environment, and compare it to the footprint and the environmental effect a year after the project gets implemented which is the qualitative data. In addition, we will be measuring the quantitative data by looking into whether the change has motivated the people in the city of Corvallis to use the electric bus and public transportation by measuring the number of people who used buses before and after the change. The results will be shared in the group poster and by working with our community partner to announce the results and the difference that has been done when we use an environmentally friendly bus, to motivate more people to use electric buses by knowing the difference that they have made on the environment.

Project Description and Timeline:

Upon the start of our group’s specific Corvallis sustainability study (via SUS 350) we would take our class knowledge and community volunteering experience to use the proper language and etiquette to solve our specific sustainability issue. With fixating on the buses of Corvallis, our system would start by reaching out and finding a local automotive maintenance company to help us begin converting a prototype bus that would be more efficient and safer for the environment. As the conversion process begins, that’s when we’d work on fundraising with an ad campaign to get the Corvallis community to donate and help our cause for a future eco-friendly bus system.

We’d work on social media, banners and posters, and digital ads via local graphic designers and marketing teams to help out via volunteering or collaboration. Once the first bus prototype is ready to hit the streets, we would start showing it to City Hall, the State of Oregon, entrepreneurs, and bigger corporations to inspire funding and assistance to get a full fleet in production. The combined efforts of fundraised money from the community and support from outside help, this would fund the final production and implementation of said final fleet. For this proposal’s sake, our timeline ends at the prototype’s finish, because that’s when our $20,000 cap would reach. Our goal is that by then, we’d have a backbone of fundraised support to keep moving forward without delay.

Jan: Group equips further knowledge on sustainability issues within Corvallis to narrow down our project focus.

Feb: Start planning and volunteering within the community to learn more about our project’s urgency while finishing project proposal.

March: Bring in local eco-friendly automotive maintenance company.

April: Start development on bus prototype

April: Start fundraising campaign

May: Join with local designers/marketers to make social media/poster/ads for supporting the project

August: Finalizing Bus prototype

August: Begin showing progress/sponsorship for further production to automotive companies, entrepreneurs, etc.

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