Transit and the Environment
Transit can play a role in improving the environment by the use of environmentally friendly technologies to assist with attainment of air quality standards, reduction of Green House Gases (GHG), and improving Florida’s environment through the reduction of Vehicles Miles Traveled (VMT).
The following projects are strategies and tools for planners to use in making transit more “green” and environmentally friendly.
Conserve by Transit
In response to the Florida Climate Action Plan- a statewide set of strategies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions- the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) initiated the Conserve by Transit project. The project complemented the statewide climate change effort by raising awareness about and developing a means to quantify public transportation’s potential contribution to GHG reductions.
The Conserve by Transit project produced measurable criteria to analyze the levels of GHG emissions displaced by transit due to: 1) the offset of trips that would otherwise be made by private automobiles, and 2) roadway congestion relief associated with those transit trips. The analysis examined the relative proportion of GHG reductions and energy savings that could be achieved from three different transit investment scenarios. It also included critical factors such as temperature and humidity, variables which have not been traditionally used in GHG calculators. This analysis demonstrated that real GHG savings can be achieved through smart investments in the State’s public transit systems.
While other similar efforts have largely focused on a single metropolitan area, Conserve by Transit encompasses the vast majority of Florida’s transit systems from very small systems serving towns and rural populations to systems serving the State’s largest metropolitan areas. The project produced emission calculators for 25 transit agencies in Florida. These calculators, which can be easily replicated or adopted by any transit agency, will serve as important tools for supporting agencies’ grant applications and investment decisions.