MTA Environmental Efforts
Environmental Policy Statement – Policy commits to comprehensive environmental protection and continual environmental process improvement. The Policy states in part that “The MTA must plan future transportation services and facilities that reflect the growing role of transit in the region. The protection of the environment is one of the MTA’s most important responsibilities as we seek to accomplish our mission. It is MTA’s policy to conduct our mission in a manner that is protective of human health and the environment. Thus, it is incumbent on each employee to perform his or her duties in a manner that protects the environment, prevents pollution, and supports conservation of our natural and cultural resources.”
Office of Safety:
- Stormwater Management Program – Protects our water resources from exposure to and transport of chemical substances and other pollutants by stormwater runoff. Proper material and chemical storage at MTA has eliminated or reduced to the greatest extent possible stormwater pollutants. Elements of the plan include best management practices such as good housekeeping, employee training, proper storage and handling of materials, and inspection and maintenance of stormwater management equipment and structures.
- Asbestos Management Plans – In effect at 11 facilities, including Cromwell, Eastern, Federalsburg, Kirk, MARC Frederick, MARC Martins, North Avenue, Northwest, Old Court, Wabash and Washington Boulevard.
- Plans, Procedures and Programs for spill prevention, response, cleanup and reporting; paint spray booth operating practices; underground storage tank management; disposable gas cylinder recycling; hazardous waste management; non-hazardous used oil and waste accumulation and handling; operation and maintenance of the Aerosolv can puncturing device; procedure for cold degreasing parts washer; and stormwater illicit discharge detection.
- Lead paint inspections and maintenance – conducted at 13 facilities, including Cromwell, Eastern Federalsburg maintenance yard, Kirk, MARC Martins maintenance, MARC storage in Frederick County, North Avenue Light Rail Maintenance shop, Northwest Main Shop and MOW building, Old Court Maintenance Shop, Washington Boulevard and Washington Boulevard Bus Maintenance Facility.
- The MTA takes proactive steps to ensure the safety of Maryland’s tributaries, waterways, and wells. To accomplish this goal, the Safety Department has works jointly with the Engineering, Construction, and Operations Departments to remove Underground Storage Tanks at the Kirk, Eastern, and Northwest Bus Divisions and replace them with Aboveground Storage Tanks, allowing for greater access for routine maintenance and periodic inspections. Stormwater Best Management Practices implementation minimizes the potential transport of chemicals, debris and pollutants into a storm sewer system, or directly into a lake, stream, river or wetland which could severely impact the waterways use for swimming, fishing, and drinking water.
- MTA single stream recycling program in place at 13 facilities is reducing land-filled waste as well as reducing green house gas emissions. With single stream recycling in 2013, the MTA saved: 106,206 kW-hr of electricity, or enough to power seven homes for a year; 2,341 gallons of oil, enough energy to heat and cool 11 homes for a year; 541 gallons of gasoline, enough to drive 15, 151 miles; 339 mature trees, enough to produce 4,197,016 sheets of newspaper; 157,840 gallons of water, enough to meet the fresh water needs of 762 people for a year; and 89 cubic yards of landfill airspace, which is enough airspace to meet the disposal needs of a community of 212 people.
Office of Public Affairs and Communications:
- Website – The MTA website www.mta.maryland.gov contains links to the agencies “Go Green” pages and links to external sites related to other environmental efforts.
- Green Outreach Efforts – Throughout the year the Office distributes brochures on Bicycle use on MTA vehicles; Think Green, Ride MTA 4x9 cards detailing the environmental benefits of riding MTA; Public Transit Green Facts 4x9 cards with facts about the benefits of taking public transportation; advertisements in local newspapers and magazines; advertisements on bus and rail car cards; bus and rail wraps with environmental themes; posters in Metro stations and bus shelters; and environmental topics are covered on the MTA’s monthly television show “Commuter Connections” and the weekly radio show “This Week With MTA.”
- MTA works with the Jones Falls Watershed Association to protect and restore the health and beauty of the Jones Falls Watershed through restoration, monitoring, advocacy, and citizen awareness. In partnership with the Office of Planning, the Office of Public Affairs and Communications has installed informational signs about the Watershed Project at all Light Rail stops along the Jones Falls area to help spread the word about JFWA and the environmental benefits of using mass transit. Another partnership with the City of Baltimore Transportation Department sought to promote the use of bicycling in combination with MTA modes, and together the two departments produced the very first map showing the connectivity between bike trails in Baltimore City and MTA bus and rail stops, and this map is printed inside the new Bike Brochure.
- Coloring Book – The third version of the MTA Coloring Book came out in February 2012 with an action figures theme and was titled “Planet MTA – Transit Heroes on a Mission to Protect the Earth.” The copy was written to reflect the MTA’s mission to promote the environmental benefits of riding public transportation
- The Office of Public Affairs and Communications introduced the MTA’s “Rack and Roll” initiative, which is an ongoing program that seeks to make public transit more convenient for bicyclists. As part of the new initiative, MTA installed new bike racks in two locations at Penn Station. The new racks, installed in collaboration with Baltimore city, hold over thirty bikes and replace ones that had been located adjacent to the station.
- Dump the Pump Day – The MTA, along with transportation systems nationwide, participates annually in promoting Dump the Pump Day. Sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), Dump the Pump Day is the day set aside to encourage people to ride public transportation to save money, conserve gasoline, and help reduce greenhouse gases
- The quarterly employee newsletter Transit Lines, as well as other periodic newsletters, bulletinsand timetables, is printed on recyclable paper.
- The Office of Public Affairs and Communications promotes MTA-funded programs operating throughout the State that promote ridesharing. Carpooling with just one person cuts commuting costs in half and reduces harmful CO2 emissions.
- The Office of Public Affairs and Communications promotes Community Clean Sweep programs that are held in neighborhoods around transit centers periodically throughout the year.
- In the Mobility Division, schedulers group rides together geographically, mapping out the most efficient routes for paratransit operators, and this form of ridesharing also helps the environment.
Office of Media Relations:
- The Office of Media Relations sends out their daily Media Clips by email, thus saving more paper and ink.
Office of Engineering:
- Over 3,700 “thin film” solar panels were installed on the roof of one Northwest Bus Division, supplying 18 percent of their electric needs and saving over $68,000 per year. An additional income of $128,160 is coming in from Solar Renewable Energy Certificates generated from surplus energy sold back to the electric company.
- In 2011 a massive project to replace electric fixtures and bulbs with greener, more energy-efficient ones was undertaken in 54 different MTA locations. Areas worked on included bus and train facilities and maintenance shops, the Frederick fueling facility, the two MARC garages at BWI Rail Station and the Operations Control Center in Baltimore City. Fluorescent fixtures wereretrofitted and upgraded, incandescent lamps were replaced with compact fluorescent ones and certain Metro Subway exit signs were replaced with new LED signs with battery back-ups. The energy saved from these 14,144 individual lighting renovations translates to a combined savings of over $434,000 per year. Lighting renovations were also completed in 14,144 separate MTA locations in stations, facilities and offices, saving another $434,000 annually.
Local Bus Operations:
- MTA has ordered 50 New Flyer Xcelsior Electric Hybrid 40-foot buses, which include 10 BAE buses. The BAE bus, which can be driven for short distances without the engine running while maneuvering around the divisions, results in even less fuel consumption than the regular Xcelsior Hybrids, and belt maintenance is expected to be eliminated. Standard equipment on the 2014 Xcelsior buses is the Vanner beltless alternator, a new innovation being evaluated for a possible retrofit on all 120 of the 2011 and 2012 hybrids. The Vanner beltless alternator has been undergoing extensive tests here since September 2012 and has proven to improve gas mileage by about 20 percent. >
- As of April 2014 the MTA operates 363 hybrid buses, which is nearly 50 percent of its Local Bus fleet. The two main “green” features of hybrid buses are improved air quality and improved energy savings, since hybrids run alternately on electric power and diesel fuel. Hybrid buses help reduce particulate emissions that have been blamed for various harmful effects on health. (Up to 90 percent reduction compared to standard diesel engines). Hybrids get approximately 21 percent better fuel mileage. Since MTA buses run about 25 million miles annually, that translates to a savings of over 400,000 gallons of fuel each year, and based on an average of $4/gallon, the annual fuel savings is $1,640,000.
- All 219 of the MTA’s New Flyer local buses were equipped with particulate traps on the exhaust system. The new traps catch up to 90 percent of all soot and harmful particles. These buses also reduce air pollution further with a newly installed idle shut down feature that turns the bus off after idling more than 10 minutes
- Construction has begun at Kirk Division on a new $53 million, state-of-the-art, sustainable design, energy efficient/green technology building that will house maintenance operations. The 100,000 square foot maintenance facility will be completely enclosed and located on property directly across from the existing location, and the new building will allow all maintenance work to be performed in an enclosed environment.
- In all of MTA’s bus wash houses, water is captured, filtered and recycled. Another way MTA helps to improve the quality of Maryland’s waterways and drinking water sources is by replacing underground fuel storage tanks with above ground tanks at all of its bus divisions
- MTA is continuing to transition to 5 percent biodiesel in its Local Bus operation. This mixture not only reduces emissions, but encourages U.S. energy security by utilizing domestically-produced vegetable oils.
- Now MTA customers can have their ride and take their bike too! MTA encourages bicycling by allowing bikes on Metro and Light Rail, and in 2008 installed new, easy-to-use front-mounted bike racks on all Local Buses. Folding bikes have always been allowed on MARC Trains, and most Light Rail and Metro Subway stations, and many MARC stations have bicycle racks. Bike lockers are also available throughout the MTA system at several Light Rail, Metro and MARC stations.
- MTA is retrofitting all 219 of the radiators, air coolers and hydraulic fans in the 2004 and 2005 New Flyer buses with a new environmentally-friendly “mini-hybrid” system that reduces emissions and improves fuel efficiency by 10 percent, potentially saving over $600,000 annually in fuel costs alone. Additional yearly savings on repairs are approximately $2,800 on each New Flyer bus. The new mini-hybrid thermal product is already factory-installed on all new hybrids.
MTA Light Rail and Metro Subway
- MTA Light Rail and Metro Subway use rail cars powered with electricity that produces no local air pollution. To save even more electricity, installation of high efficiency lighting in all Metro stations now uses 40 percent less energy than the lighting it replaces.
- MARC Train now operates 26 new MP-36 locomotives which are not only more powerful, reliable and environmentally-friendly, but have better fuel economy than the ones they are replacing. The new locomotives meet stringent new EPA requirements for all types of pollutants, reduce emissions of nitrous oxide by 42 percent, carbon monoxide by 70 percent and particulates (like soot) by 67 percent. New transportation investments announced in 2014 include $ 56 million for 8-10 PRIIA type locomotives that will meet all EPA requirements for the foreseeable future.
- MTA offers EV Recharging Points at White Marsh Park and Ride, BWI Rail, Odenton and Dorsey MARC stations, and Falls Road and Mt. Washington Light Rail stations. EV charging is also available at Baltimore’s Penn Station. Park your electric vehicle while getting on a hybrid bus or train to go to work. Charging time takes about 6 to 8 hours, so when you return, your vehicle will be fully charged and ready to go. This initiative is part of the MTA’s commitment to the environment and the conversion of Local Buses to hybrids (now 44 percent of total fleet) as they move closer to the creation of a Green Mobility system that provides commuters with an integrated and sustainable way to get from place to place
Office of Customer Information:
- MTA has several “Think Green, Ride MTA” wrapped hybrids and they have been displayed at nearby malls and other outreach events where transit ambassadors answered questions about the bus’s innovative, environmentally-friendly features.
- The MTA Print Shop uses only soy-based inks, which not only reduce pollution when they are manufactured, but also reduce health hazards for employees.
Office of Planning:
- Red Line Sustainability Design is being created for the proposed Red and Purple lines.
- Writing a Bicycle Expansion Policy for future stations and facilities regarding bike lockers and other installations for bike owners using MTA modes.
- The Office of Planning uses Travel Demand Management (TDM) strategies that strive to reduce our reliance on personal vehicles, number of trips taken, and vehicle emissions. There are many benefits to TDM strategies including lower commuting costs, reduced congestion, decreased parking demand, energy conservation, and improved air quality. The Maryland Department of Transportation and the MTA have embraced a TDM strategy known as Transit Oriented Development (TOD), a development form that relies on mixed land uses and urban design concepts to fuse dense residential and commercial areas with transit hubs. Transit Oriented Developments help MTA accomplish the goal of creating a “More Mobile Maryland.” The end result of this goal is to enhance the surrounding community and increase ridership. At the same time, the MTA seeks to maximize the use of state-owned land while producing new tax revenues, jobs, and places for people to live in the most environmentally-friendly manner possible.
MTA Police Force:
- The MTA Police Force operate three environmentally-friendly electric T-3 motion scooters that use no fuel and can fit inside a Metro Subway car or on platforms.
- The MTA Police Force also use a Honda Civic hybrid, a bicycle, and have two Chevy Impalas and six Dodge Durango SUVs that can run on flex fuel.
Office of Construction:
- Works closely with the Office of Planning and the Office of Engineering to ensure that everything MTA builds uses the most environmentally-friendly and energy efficient building materials and heating and cooling systems possible.
Office of Administrative Training:
- The MTA Training Department has developed and implemented environmental training programs for employees, including stormwater pollution prevention and environmental hazard awareness.
Office of Telecommunications:
- The Office of Telecommunications periodically plays a 30-second “hold” message for incoming calls to the 454 exchange concerning the new diesel-electric hybrid buses and the environmental benefits connected with MTA’s use of them. The current message is: “The MTA cares about the environment. The MTA is replacing all of its local buses with hybrids, which consume 21 percent less fuel and emit much less pollutants into the air! Ride MTA and go green!”