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Transit and Environmental Sustainability

Public transportation is uniquely positioned to provide the United States with environmental benefits and energy savings. Learn more about transit’s role in environmental sustainability and FTA activities.

Climate Change

  • FTA Climate Change Adaptation Initiative. Global climate change presents a new challenge to transit providers through increased risk of flooding, sea level rise, extreme weather, and extreme heat. Learn more about FTA's climate change pilot studies to better prepare public transit for future climate changes.
  • FTA recently released and is requesting public comments on its Draft Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Transit Projects: Programmatic Assessment. The programmatic assessment serves to report on whether certain types of proposed transit projects merit detailed analysis of their GHG emissions at the project level and to provide a source of data and analysis for FTA and its grantees to reference in future environmental documents for projects in which detailed, project-level GHG analysis would provide only limited information beyond what is collected and considered in this programmatic analysis. A GHG emissions estimator tool and user guide are also available.
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions Savings from Transit. Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Synthesis 84 explores the role of transit agencies in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and examines the current practice of a sample of transit agencies.

Sustainability Resources 

  • Climate Change. Public transportation can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by providing a low emissions alternative to driving, facilitating compact development, and minimizing the carbon footprint of its operations. Find research on transit and climate change, tools for measuring and reducing carbon footprints, and information on transportation-related climate change adaptation here.
  • Environmental Analysis and Review. A clearinghouse dedicated to providing all the necessary information to guide transit agencies, resource agencies, and the public though the environmental review process for transit projects and improvements that receive Federal funds. Here you will find detailed information on NEPA and other environmental policy, as well as information on environmental streamlining and stewardship as mandated in Executive Order 13274. This site also provides resource information, compiled in the NEPA reference library, and information on professional development opportunities.
  • Transit Oriented Development. By combining investment in public transportation with mixed-use, compact land use around transit stations, transit-oriented development (TOD) reduces car trips and distances and boosts the environmental benefits of transit. Find out more about FTA policies that support TOD here, as well as tools and resources for building TOD.
  • Livable and Sustainable Communities. Highlights how FTA programs fit into the larger DOT Livability Initiative and the Federal Sustainable Communities Partnership to provide citizens with access to affordable housing, more transportation options, and lower transportation costs, while protecting the environment in communities nationwide.
  • General Sustainability Resources. Find  sustainability research, tools, resources, and links here, including FTA reports, academic papers, and information on Green Building, Environmental Management Systems, and LEED.
  • Clearinghouse of Transit Agency Sustainability Practices. From installing solar panels to buying hybrid buses and building energy efficient facilities, transit agencies across the country are taking leadership on sustainability. Multiple efforts are showcased here.
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