As Cook County looks toward a more sustainable future, establishing infrastructure and policies that support the growth of private electrification has become a key objective. The County is committed to installing public electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in historically underserved communities (HUBs) to ensure a reliable network that is equitably placed throughout the county.

HNTB collaborated with the Cook County Department of Environment and Sustainability to develop a comprehensive study in support of this goal. As part of this effort, the firm created educational campaign materials; conducted outreach and engagement; and developed interactive survey tools to better understand the awareness, preparedness and barriers of EV charging infrastructure within HUBs. HNTB created a campaign branding message of “Go Where You Want, Charge Where You Need” coupled with a series of focus groups to identify EV charging preferences.

Centering this effort on people’s experiences and needs, Cook County and HNTB were able to craft EV parking infrastructure and management policies and actions.

A series of key recommendations were made to address public concerns and incorporate best practices in EV charging infrastructure. The study highlighted the need to prioritize charging in high-visibility locations for safety; continuing education efforts around charging time, costs and limitations; increase awareness of EV technology; and establish EV parking performance metrics.

The project stands as the first critical step towards comprehensive EV adoption in the second-largest county in the U.S. Efforts made by Cook County and HNTB has sparked the necessary dialogue about EV technology and infrastructure requirements that will continue to influence the multimodal ecosystem within our communities and prioritize EV resources in areas that are in most need.

Location: Cook County, IL

Client: Cook County Department of Environment and Sustainability