The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) recognized SamTrans and Caltrain with Silver-Level status in the APTA Sustainability Commitment Program for the agencies’ continued achievements in sustainability.
“It is incumbent on all of us to do more to protect our environment,” said Joint Powers Board Chair Jeannie Bruins. “Caltrain is proud of its role in getting cars off the road and reducing our carbon footprint, and we thank APTA for recognizing our efforts.”
Highlights from Caltrain’s sustainability program include:
- Caltrain has the most extensive bicycle access program among passenger railroads in the U.S., accommodating approximately 6,000 bicyclists every weekday. In 2017, Caltrain committed to a new bicycle parking management plan to increase use of wayside bike parking facilities.
- Since the summer of 2017, Caltrain’s electricity has been 65 percent renewable and 79 percent greenhouse gas (GHG) free through participating in local Community Choice Energy programs. Through this effort, Caltrain will reduce its carbon footprint from electricity use by about 20 percent, which is equivalent to the annual carbon emissions of 150 cars.
- Caltrain prepared its first ever Sustainability Report in 2017, which summarizes and highlights the agency’s sustainability achievements from FY 2010 to FY 2016. For the past several years, Caltrain has experienced unprecedented ridership growth, greatly reducing the number of cars on Highway 101.In FY 2016, the average Caltrain passenger helped eliminate 3.2 pounds of GHG emissions with each train trip. In response to California’s historic drought, Caltrain implemented a number of water-saving conservation measures, and decreased water consumption by more than a third between FY 2014 and FY 2016.
- When the Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project (PCEP) is complete, Caltrain’s GHG emissions and criteria air pollutants will decrease drastically. The increased ridership resulting from the increase in capacity will lead to additional air quality benefits.
“As the realities of climate change become increasingly apparent, agencies like SamTrans must lead the way in pushing for greener technology and responsible practices,” said SamTrans Board Chair Charles Stone. “By using Peninsula Clean Energy for our power and purchasing new electric buses, we are doing more than ever before to safeguard our world.”
SamTrans was recognized for many notable sustainability achievements, including:
- Since 2017, SamTrans has purchased 100 percent renewable and GHG free electricity from Peninsula Clean Energy, San Mateo County’s Community Choice Energy Program.Through this effort, SamTrans will reduce its carbon footprint from electricity use by about 40 percent, which is equivalent to the annual carbon emissions of 200 cars.
- SamTrans recently approved the purchase of 10 battery electric buses, which will replace some of SamTrans’ oldest diesel vehicles. These new buses, along with the 25 hybrid buses already in service, are part of SamTrans’ effort to reduce its fleet emissions. SamTrans is working on a long-term plan to fully electrify the bus fleet by 2032 ahead of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) state-wide goal of transforming all transit fleets to zero-emission bus technology by 2040.
- SamTrans prepared its first ever Sustainability Report in 2017, which summarizes and highlights the District’s sustainability achievements between FY 2010 and FY 2016. In response to California’s historic drought, SamTrans implemented a number of water-saving conservation measures, and decreased water consumption by more than a third between FY2010 and FY2016. Overall, SamTrans facility energy use declined by more than 26 percent between FY 2010 and FY 2016, and SamTrans is currently replacing High-intensity discharge lighting in its two maintenance and operations facilities with LED lights, which are 80 percent more efficient.
“Integrating environmental stewardship and sustainability into an organization’s core business practices is the foundation of APTA’s Sustainability Recognition Awards,” said APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas. “We congratulate the San Mateo County Transit District and Caltrain for gaining Silver Level recognition in 2018 for their commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship. Their blueprint of implementing sustainable practices makes their communities better and greener places to live.”
About Caltrain: Owned and operated by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, Caltrain provides commuter rail service from San Francisco to San Jose, with limited commute service to Gilroy. Caltrain enjoyed more than five years of consecutive monthly ridership increases, surpassing more than 65,000 average weekday riders. While the Joint Powers Board assumed operating responsibilities for the service in 1992, the railroad celebrated 150 years of continuous passenger service in 2014. Planning for the next 150 years of Peninsula rail service, Caltrain is on pace to electrify the system, reduce diesel emissions by 97 percent by 2040 and add more service to more stations.