Transportation & Energy

Transportation and energy are basic social and economic needs. Providing affordable choices to meet these needs is an important responsibility of government. However, many of the solutions conceived during the early and mid-20th century are no longer economically or environmentally sustainable today. COWS works to promote new solutions that reduce waste and capture locally the value of doing so, create high-road jobs for those who need it most, build overall community wealth, and benefit the environment. View our latest publications and current initiatives on the topics below.


The Innovative DOT: A Handbook of Policy & Practice            Urban Parking: Rational Policy Approaches for Cities and Towns         


State Smart Transportation Initiative

Working with CEOs at state DOTs, the State Smart Transportation Initiative (SSTI) promotes "smart transportation" practices that promote environmental sustainability and equitable economic development while maintaining high standards of governmental efficiency and transparency.

Emerald Cities Collaborative

The Emerald Cities Collaborative is a national group working to create high-road energy efficiency programs in ten major cities nationwide. COWS was a co-founder of the organization and is a leader in the Milwaukee Collaborative.


Energy Efficiency

COWS has consistently been a leader on energy efficiency in cities. The Efficiency Cities Network shares best practices in high-road energy efficiency policy and program design. In addition to the Efficiency Cities Network, COWS has worked with cities, states and other NGOs to promote energy efficiency in public buildings by providing policy research and analysis as well as technical assistance on energy efficiency program design, implementation, and financing. Retrofitting the nation's public and institutional buildings for greater energy efficiency, financing these retrofits from the savings achieved, and requiring local-hire and job advancement standards for those who do the work can provide the widespread high-road job creation needed in today's economy. COWS has been a leader in innovative energy efficiency programs for cities, consulting with municipalities around the country to help establish whole-house retrofit programs that save energy and create jobs. 


Green Jobs

COWS has been a national thought leader on the innovation required to build shared prosperity into an emerging green economy. For more on jobs and skills in clean energy sectors, see Green Jobs.


Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association

The Cooperative Home Energy Efficiency Retrofit Program (CHERP) is a partnership with COWS, the Wisconsin Electrical Cooperative Association, and three rural electrical cooperatives to design and pilot a retrofit finance program that will improve coop members' buildings and allow them to pay for energy efficiency improvements as a service on their utility bill.