The HPCTP is one of the only projects of its kind within New York City’s private sector, so securing participants was an initial challenge. That being said, HPCTP has gained the support of Hunts Point community members, elected officials, public health experts, and the Hunts Point truck fleet.
Given that vehicle emissions can be hard to track, HPCTP was tasked with devising a system to evaluate the impact of the initiative on their focus region: the South Bronx. In order to do so, HPCTP utilises an automated monitoring system which logs the location, engine status, and speed of all participating vehicles. With this mechanism in place, HPCTP can ensure that the South Bronx benefits from the program.
The HPCTP’s central goal is to provide funding to accelerate the purchasing of vehicles which use low-carbon alternative fuels or biodiesel. So far, they have secured $24 million through the USDOT-FHWA’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement programme to offset the costs of truck replacements or retrofits as well as $600,000 from the City of New York to fund retrofits which improve pedestrian safety. Individuals who operate trucks funded by this initiative agree to operate for at least 5 years, visit Hunts Point at least twice per week, and keep 70% of their trips within the Tri-State area. Since 2012, the HPCTP has offset 5,291 tonnes of CO2 per year, translating to an approximate reduction of 13% per truck. Locally, the initiative has dramatically reduced emissions of air pollutants, eliminating between 80% and 95% of pollutants such as nitrogen oxide, carbon, and fine particulate matter.
This in an initiative rooted in environmental justice given that the South Bronx has historically born a disproportionate amount of the emissions and pollutants produced by heavy-duty vehicles. This has made some of the poorest census tracts in the city, located in Hunts Point, also some of the most polluted –– the HPCTP begins to address this inequity. According to the EPA, Bronx County has the highest quantifiable health benefit to gain from reduced air pollution of any county in the city –– the HPCTP serves to drastically improve the quality of life for the Hunts Point community in the long term, especially for its children and elderly. Furthermore, this initiative will allow local small businesses and individuals to afford new, efficient fleets which would be otherwise inaccessible to them. In 2015, the programme celebrated reaching its 500-truck milestone and seeks to distribute as many new trucks as possible. The HPCTP’s initial reduction target for CO2 emissions is set at 15% per truck and in terms of localised pollution, HPCTP aims to reduce the air pollutants and particulate matter which endanger Hunts Point residents by at least 75% per truck.