Public Transportation And Energy Efficiency: Boston’s Sustainable Mobility Initiatives – The MBTA is embarking on the biggest transformation of its bus system since the streetcar network converted to rubber-tired vehicles in 1922. Like the previous transition, the shift to zero emissions will not happen overnight, but it will happen faster than you think. .
The MBTA is committed to reducing the carbon emissions of our buses as well as providing reliable, competitive bus service to our riders. To that end, the T is pursuing an ambitious plan to deploy battery electric bus (BEB) technology across its entire bus fleet and, in the meantime, is taking immediate steps to use cleaner vehicles to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution . We, along with many of our big city peers, believe that BEB technology is the most efficient, effective way to eliminate emissions from cutting through our system. The MBTA will begin purchasing 80 BEBs this year, and these new buses will enter service starting in 2023. The majority of these 80 vehicles will replace the oldest diesel buses in the MBTA fleet.
- 1 Public Transportation And Energy Efficiency: Boston’s Sustainable Mobility Initiatives
- 2 Mass. Incentives Inspire Efficient Affordable Housing
- 3 Transit Needs To Compete For Post Covid Commuters
Public Transportation And Energy Efficiency: Boston’s Sustainable Mobility Initiatives
Related: Joe Boncore and María Belén Power: By Investing in Electric Silver Line Buses, MBTA Would Invest in Healthier Neighborhoods
Mass. Incentives Inspire Efficient Affordable Housing
As we purchase and deploy BEBs, we will also continue to move and replace older vehicles across our network with the cleanest vehicles possible. For example, the dual-mode buses currently in use on the Silver Line were new in 2004 and need replacement to ensure reliable service for riders in Chelsea, East Boston and the Seaport. Due to facility constraints and the urgent timeline, we are purchasing improved hybrid electric buses to provide a new and improved Silver Line fleet within the next 12 months. Although not fully electric, these hybrid buses are powered by one of the cleanest engines in the MBTA in terms of GHG emissions and air pollution. The Chelsea and East Boston portions of these routes will see a 15 to 20 percent reduction in GHG emissions and at least a 95 percent reduction in particulate matter and NOx—the harmful pollutants that affect air quality. New Geofencing technology will improve on this even more, allowing Silver Line buses to run in battery mode, with the engine off, for portions of their journey through these districts.
Going electric isn’t as simple as buying a new fleet of BEBs to replace the MBTA’s 1,100 buses. To implement this clean technology on such a large scale, the T will also need to upgrade and modernize its maintenance facilities to support a fleet of electric buses. The T is taking a significant first step with plans to open a new facility in Quincy in 2024 that will have the capacity to house up to 120 BEBs. The century-old Quincy facility will be replaced first because its structural limitations prevent all but our oldest and least energy-efficient buses from operating there.
The Quincy facility is only the beginning. The T will move to open two more BEB facilities by 2028. One of these facilities will support service south of downtown Boston and Jamaica Plain, Hyde Park, Roxbury, and Dorchester, and another in the north will serve Malden, Everett, Revere, Chelsea , in East Boston. Both facilities will be built to support BEBs from day one, meaning that bus emissions from many corridors in these communities could be largely eliminated by 2030. just a short intermediate step on the road to zero emission buses as soon as six years later.
The T remains focused on both short- and long-term plans to implement cleaner technologies across the bus fleet. Our current bus purchase allows us to significantly reduce emissions on the two Silver Line routes serving East Boston and Chelsea. Our next steps will eliminate emissions from logging entirely for many more routes and communities. The MBTA has unveiled an ambitious bus modernization plan to meet the Commonwealth’s 2050 decarbonization goals. This approach positions the MBTA as a leader in fleet electrification, both in the Commonwealth and nationally. This transition will not be easy or cheap, but the T looks forward to continuing to work with community partners to make progress on these fronts. Together we can move our riders in a way that uses the best, reliable green technology and protects our environment. We have a request We aim to add 2,500 contributions this month to support our clear and accessible policy coverage and so much more. Want to help us get there by making a contribution today? x
Transit Needs To Compete For Post Covid Commuters
I live in the Chicago area, in Evanston, on the Purple Line of the Chicago Transit Authority. It’s a great place to be when I want to go downtown, especially during a weekday rush hour when the express train is running. But if I want to go to O’Hare airport – in the western suburbs – I have to take the Purple Line to Howard station, transfer to the Red Line, take it all the way to the city, and then back on transfer the Blue Line. All told, my trip could take up to two hours.
And that’s in Chicago. In places like Atlanta or Charlotte, North Carolina, service is less frequent. If you’re in Phoenix or Houston, the sheer sprawl of these cities means that in almost every situation, it makes more sense to drive if you have access to a car.
Pass Congress’ bipartisan infrastructure bill that commits $39 billion in new funding to local public transit. Its goal is to combat the vicious cycle in which the poor quality of facilities, stations, trains and buses causes delays, creates an unreliable transit experience that leads to declines in ridership. When ridership drops, transit agencies generate less revenue through fares, meaning they lack the funds to take on the repair and maintenance issues that led to decreased ridership in the first place.
That’s where many systems are right now: ridership declines have reached record highs during the Covid-19 pandemic. Emergency funding from the federal government allows many of the nation’s top transit agencies to maintain service, but a more permanent solution is needed.
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Given that the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates a transit investment backlog of $176 billion, robust federal legislation for transit could be the boon that agencies desperately need.
With more federal funding, cities could fix their aging fleets and stations, improve service on popular lines, add new routes and reconfigure their systems to meet new post-pandemic transit needs, all while reducing the traditional, in City center nine-to-five office jobs that started even before the pandemic. Public transport could become a consistently reliable, affordable option, get people out of their cars and make a significant dent in our greenhouse gas emissions.
There are four main problems with public transit in the United States: infrequency, limited access, delays – and the negative effect on demand that other issues bring.
But the infrastructure bill only partially addresses delays and access, and does little to fix frequency issues or promote strategies known to boost ridership.
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Some delays are outside the control of a transit system, such as traffic that affects buses or trains that stop because a passenger has an emergency. But many are the function of maintenance problems.
The Department of Transportation reported in 2017 that 36.4 percent of all facilities, 21.4 percent of systems and 18.5 percent of vehicles were considered to be in “poor” condition over a 10-year period. Such conditions can result in trains breaking down, slow performance on old tracks, track fires, engine failures, or even just doors struggling to close – all of which can cause delays that have ripple effects on other trains and buses.
Maintenance-related problems are partly a symptom of federal funding, which has decreased since the significant federal investments in the 1970s and 1980s that allowed prominent transit agencies such as the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) or the Washington, DC Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority have got. (WMATA) to grow to their current sizes.
Without the significant federal investment, problems have arisen even in the strongest systems – WMATA has closed rail service on two lines and delayed its Silver Line expansion, and the CTA has deployed a Red Line expansion and station improvements in Chicago. Smaller systems also struggled, especially after the Great Recession, which led them to cut back on service.
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The bipartisan infrastructure bill authorizes a significant amount of spending to address these types of issues: In Chicago, for example, Joseph Schwieterman, a professor of transportation and urban planning at DePaul University, said he expects the funding to improve Service on the CTA leads. busy Red and Blue lines after necessary repairs to trains and stations. Fixing old railcars and improving stations should streamline the ability of riders to move through the system in an efficient manner, increasing the reliability of the entire system.
The bill’s funding for capital improvement grants could be used to finally build Chicago’s long-desired Red Line extension. And Schwieterman said it would allow Metra, Chicago’s commuter rail agency, to replace old locomotives with new ones. It could also give Metra the ability to potentially experiment with off-peak service
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