Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has signed an executive order to reduce the city’s vehicle fleet by 10% by the end of 2020. The executive order aims to accelerate the transition to a clean and green city fleet, working toward the goal of achieving a fossil-fuel-free fleet by 2030.
The city’s Drive Clean Seattle Green Fleet Action Plan will be updated to establish fleet reduction goals, set a minimum utilization threshold, and provide an assessment of the greenest vehicle for common job types across the city. The city will also right-size all vehicle replacements at end of life with the most compact, most cost-effective, and lowest engine displacement vehicle for the job.
“10% reduction is a significant amount of vehicles and the biggest opportunity that might present itself is inter-departmental sharing of similar fleet assets. This is rarely done within a department let alone between departments, so we’ll see how creative the vehicle reduction plans are,” Fleet Director Chris Wiley told Government Fleet.
In support of these efforts, the city will establish a Vehicle Use Committee, consisting of the city budget director, director of finance and administrative services, and a representative of the mayor’s office, to review and approve department reduction plans and resolve new vehicle requests.
“What impressed me most about this executive order is the mayor established a Vehicle Use Committee, that has cabinet-level members who will decide the fate of vehicles,” Wiley said. “This allows the fleet management division to remain a customer-driven service provider and not an enforcer.”
Each department will submit a plan to reduce vehicles to the Department of Financial and Administrative Services (FAS). FAS will identify areas for reduction, and the Vehicle Use Committee will ensure eliminating these vehicles will not have an unreasonable adverse impact on emergency response, public safety, and other critical operations.
For now, FAS and Seattle City Light will halt all sedan, SUV, van, and light truck replacements except for vehicles with a market-ready battery-electric option. This moratorium will last for each department until that department’s vehicle reduction plan is submitted to FAS. Any fleet addition requests must be offset with a fleet reduction elsewhere in the department.
In addition, the mayor’s 2019-2020 proposed budget eliminates fuel price cushions in department budgets, releasing $1 million for city services and creating a financial incentive for conservation.
City departments are directed to pool resources within departments and cross-departmentally to increase efficient utilization, and FAS will talk to intergovernmental partners, including the Port of Seattle and King County, to explore opportunities to share fleet resources. In addition, city employees will be encouraged to consider video or telephone conferencing, walking/biking, transit, and shared vehicle services before using a single-occupancy vehicle. To offset the transition to a reduced fleet, the city may utilize short-term rentals.
FAS will pilot a telematics system to track actual vehicle use on a limited number of vehicles. The department is also responsible for enforcing the new utilization thresholds and tracking vehicle data.
The City of Seattle fleet consists of 4,150 vehicles, including police cars, fire engines, dump trucks, mowers, trailers, and equipment.