Sustainability Strategies to Minimize the Carbon Footprint for Connecticut Bus Operations

CTDOT has observed a demographic change in the makeup of public transportation customers in Connecticut, from principally commuters and transit-dependent people, to millennials and others using transit for all travel needs as indicated by growth in off-peak usage and more frequent trip making. This change in the make-up of transit customers is linked with increased interest in a return to urban living. This trend is accelerating nationally, as well as in Connecticut. It is envisioned that this change encompassing all aspects of travel and time of day usage into evenings and mid-day travel is not cyclical or temporary, but rather based on life-style preferences for urban living and interest in sustainability including increased customer awareness of life-style choices on the environment. CTDOT has taken some recent actions to reduce its environmental footprint for public transportation such as improved facility design and greater vehicle efficiency, however, CTDOT does not have a unifying sustainability strategy to maximize carbon reduction for public transportation operations. Development of a comprehensive strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will provide CTDOT with an opportunity to align its public transit services and future investment decisions with emerging customer preferences and to achieve broader statewide goals related to the state’s climate change initiatives. The objective of the study will be to identify a strategy to achieve a vision of a pathway to minimize the carbon footprint for CTDOT-contracted bus operations in Connecticut, including resulting benefits and challenges. The economic value of investments necessary to achieve strategy goals in terms of initial capital costs, ongoing operating costs including life-cycle costs, and overall benefits/savings will be taken into consideration and presented in an easy-to-read and comprehend format. The study will calculate/estimate the carbon footprint for all CTDOT-contracted bus operations. This analysis will look at the carbon footprint associated with day to day operations of facilities and equipment. It will not address supply chain or capital construction related emissions. Carbon emissions associated with rail operations will also be excluded at this time. Preliminary areas for study and consideration, among others to be identified include: vehicle technology for buses; facility energy use; energy generation; and operations. A literature review supported by other information gathering methods will be used to identify strategies developed by other transit agencies, as well as other industries, as appropriate, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to reduce their carbon footprint, and progress and success in achieving established goals. Methods used to measure progress will also be identified for applicability for use by CTDOT. Current operations and practices in the areas of study will be identified for background and benchmarking purposes. Additionally, the study will consider the findings and recommendations from the CASE study on Energy Efficiency and Reliability Solutions for Rail Operations and Facilities (2014) for applicability to the current study. Also, the results of the literature review, other information gathering methods, such as surveys, interviews, and focus group sessions, and guest presentations to the CASE Study Committee will be used to inform the study findings and recommendations.