Consider alternatives to EV charging stations in public Right-of-Ways (ROWs) because of competing demands on curb space.
Lessons learned from the Seattle’s permitting pilot of EV charging stations on public ROWs.
Made Public Date


United States

Electric Vehicle Charging in the Right-of-Way Permit Pilot (EVCROW): 1.0 Evaluation Report


The Electric Vehicle Charing in the Right-of-Way (EVCROW) pilot was launched by the Seattle Department of Transportation in partnership with the Office of Sustainability and Environment and Seattle City Light in July 2017 and concluded in December 2019. Seattle has a goal of 30 percent of vehicles being electric by 2030. Most owners of electric vehicles charge their vehicles at night in a garage or driveway. Since most Seattle residents are renters and may not have access to private parking, EVCROW was proposed to alleviate a barrier of entry for further EV adoption in the city.  

The pilot was deployed to assess the considerations and challenges around permitting, installation, usage behavior, and equity of installing stations in the ROW. While 68 applications were submitted for installation, several barriers limited approval to one location (two charging stations) within the 18-month pilot period.

Lessons Learned

There were several reasons why permits did not make it to final approval, most of which can be distilled down to three main barriers:  

  • Consideration of competing ROW needs (i.e. transit only lane, limited pedestrian space, bike lane). 
  • Bringing electricity to the site was cost prohibitive. 
  • Previously unknown physical barriers (i.e. wires, pipes). 

 In response to these issues, Seattle is considering: 

  • Off-street alternatives (private parking lots, residential streets etc.).
  • Pre-identifying locations for charging station deployment.
  • Other charging configurations (light poles, level 2 outlets, smart charging cables, e-micromobility).
  • Extending annual permitting to a longer agreement term to minimize investment risk .