A recent Facebook post shows that Washington State DOT knows that deciding where to put charging stations is no easy task. The more information you can get, especially from locals and people who frequently pass through an area, the better your choices will be. To accomplish this, state officials set up an interactive map where you can submit your suggestions.
The interactive map starts off with instructions telling you that there are three ways to contribute to the project.
First, you can submit your own station. Click on the “add a station” button, and, well, add a station.
If you decide to add one, it asks you a series of questions, like what kind of charger should go at the location (Level 2 or 3), why you think it’s a good spot, plus a comment field for more information. They’re not just asking for locations, which is important. The more information they can get from us, the better.
Chances are, other people have already picked some great locations. If you have a great idea and see that someone else already suggested it, you can “heart” their suggestion. This lets state officials know that the idea has your support, too. It’s still ultimately up to state officials, of course, but knowing that a bunch of people support a station location and not just one person can make it more likely that they’ll chose it.
Finally, they know that not everyone wants to mess around with maps and such, so they give an e-mail address right in the instructions where you can just tell them where you think a station should go. I know this lacks the pizzazz a map suggestion does, but they seem to know that people aren’t all the same. Some of us are very visual. Some of us are more verbal. But everyone gets to be heard, so that’s awesome.
Looking at the map itself, it looks like they’ve already received quite a few suggestions. the major highways are all covered, as are many smaller highways. But don’t let that discourage you from participating, because the idea is to give state officials a range of options to choose from along these routes. Your ideas about where someone could put a charger may be better than what’s already on the map. Don’t be shy. Push those pins in!
One area that (as of this writing) seems to really be lacking is ideas for rural areas in the state. We have to remember that EVs in cities are an important priority, but the number of EVs in the city will suffer when a vehicle’s owner frequents rural areas, for things like business or visiting family. If your suggestion can get more stations put in out there (assuming your knowledge of the area is good), it could have a big impact both for the small town involved and for the people who visit it.
In case I haven’t been clear: be sure to contribute to this project if you know Washington state. They need our help!
Featured image: Screenshot from the WSDOT suggestion map.
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