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Home > About > Environmental Commitment

Environmental Commitment

As part of our dedication to serving the public, the RTA purchases environmentally friendly equipment and adopts initiatives and programs that help us reduce our environmental impact on our city, our region, and our planet. Below are some examples of how the RTA is going green.

Fuel Savings and Decreased Vehicle Emissions

  • The RTA boasts one of the newest fleets in the country with all of our buses running on B5 bio-diesel fuel. Manufactured from vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled restaurant grease, biodiesel produces less air pollutants than petroleum-based diesel.
  • The RTA operates five high-capacity articulated buses (also known as “accordion” or “caterpillar” buses), which are all biodiesel/electric hybrids.
  • Buses that sit idle with their engines running waste fuel and release unnecessary emissions. The RTA has trained 200 drivers in an idle reduction program and has incorporated this program into all new driver training. We estimate that the idle reduction program has led to a 12% decrease in fuel consumed per passenger-mile on standard buses and a 4% decrease in fuel consumed per passenger-mile on paratransit buses.
  • All new buses brought into the RTA system use particulate traps, which reduce noxious gases, and older buses have been retrofitted with particulate traps.

Vehicle Maintenance

  • For cleaning vehicle parts in our maintenance facilities, the RTA has switched to aqueous-based solvents from naphtha-based (petroleum) solvents, a switch which reduces the introduction of harmful chemicals into sewage.
  • Instead of air, the RTA now fills bus tires with pure nitrogen, a practice which has been shown to increase fuel efficiency by 2-3% and to lengthen tire life.
  • A number of improved preventative maintenance procedures have reduced fuel consumption of our bus fleet.

Facilities

  • In our administrative offices on Canal Street, the RTA has established a recycling program with recycling containers and stations throughout the building.
  • The RTA has been gradually switching out T-12 fixtures and fluorescent bulbs for T-8 fixtures and fluorescent bulbs, which contain less mercury and are more efficient.
  • The RTA has received a State-of-Good Repair grant from the Federal Transportation Authority for our Napoleon and Carrollton facilities. The grant contains $1 million in line items for the installation of energy-efficient lighting systems at these facilities and additional funds for the installation of an environmentally friendly floor at the Carrollton location.

Better Monitoring of Environmental Efforts

  • The RTA conducts an analysis every three months on resource consumption (fuel, electricity, and natural gas), passenger miles, fleet mileage, waste streams, and our training programs related to the environment. As part of this analysis, we use baseline data to determine how well our environmental efforts are doing compared to previous periods.
  • The RTA is now maintaining a comprehensive environmental file system.
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