A Festival of Alternative Fuels

Alison Sander’s quest for answers to what causes cancer has branched off into an unusual transportation direction, the AltWheels Transportation Festival.

Brookline, Massachusetts – September 15, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] The two-day event will take over the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, Massachusetts to celebrate a variety of vehicles and technologies designed to provide environmentally friendly modes of transportation. More than 40 community organizations are participating in the event, which will include an alternative vehicle display, interactive exhibits, panel discussions, workshops and test-drives. Air pollution was a topic that came up again and again for Sander as she looked at different environmental elements in Massachusetts that could cause cancer. She learned that Cambridge, the city where she lived, had some of the state’s poorest air quality, and that there wasn’t much being done at the state level to try and fix the situation. Apparently, the state’s air wasn’t bad enough, as compared to New York or California, to warrant federal government incentives that would help the state. Sanders decided to take the transportation equation into her own hands and show other people the travel alternatives to conventional combustion engines. A connection at the Larz museum later, she was organizing and scheduling the first festival in 2003. Over 1,000 visitors and 30 organizations attended the event. The festival’s mission is to foster an open discussion between social, political and commercial organizations across the country and create a sustainable transportation vision for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. A lawn show of concept and commercially available vehicles is one of the event highlights. Vehicles presented runs on a myriad of fuels: human power, electric, hybrid, fuel cell, biodiesel, hydrogen and steam. Organizations that will have exhibits are the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mass Bike, General Motors, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard. Panel discussions and workshops will offer topics such as, the future of the passenger car, alternative innovative energy sources, urban design and transportation infrastructures. The mix of people and organizations is one of Sander’s favorite parts of the festival, and she said alternative modes of transportation always attract a large cross-section of people. “There are incredible people working on this problem across New England, and, unlike some other areas, technology is not the limiting factor,” she said. “It is much more a question of collective will and understanding our impact on others and future generations.” Before the festival begins on Saturday a parade of alternative fuel vehicles will take over traffic on Route 9 from the museum to MIT. The caravan will leave the museum at 5 p.m. on Friday, September 17, and a small reception is planned at the institution when the vehicles arrive. AltWheels Transportation Festival is scheduled for September 18 and 19. The event begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 5:00 p.m. each day. Admission to the two-day event is $10.00 per adult and $7.00 per child. Admission is reduced to 7.00 per adult, for those visitors that attend via bicycle, the courtesy Massport Bus from Cleveland Circle or other alternative transportation. For more information please visit the sites listed below, or call the Larz Museum at (617) 522-6547 ext. 14
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