Bus rapid transit (BRT) is a better option to fight global warming than rail transit powered by electricity generated from fossil fuels, according to a new analysis by Breakthrough Technologies Institute (BTI) published in the Journal of Public Transportation.
WASHINGTON-Aug. 10, 2006--Bus rapid transit (BRT) is a better option to fight global warming than rail transit powered by electricity generated from fossil fuels, according to a new analysis by Breakthrough Technologies Institute (BTI) published in the Journal of Public Transportation. BRT can achieve nearly three times the greenhouse gas emissions reductions than would be possible with rail in a typical US city.
"BRT ought to be a serious option for any city that wants to promote public transportation and reduce global warming emissions," said Bill Vincent, BTI Chief Counsel and lead author of the analysis.
In the absence of federal action, many US cities and states are acting on their own to reduce greenhouse gases. Public transit often is an important part of the strategy, because transportation accounts for nearly one-third of US greenhouse gas emissions, second only to electricity generation.
Electric rail systems generally fail to maximize greenhouse gas reductions, because they typically rely upon electricity from coal and natural gas-fired power plants, the nation's leading greenhouse gases emitters. The US Energy Information Administration reports that two-thirds of the nation's electricity comes from these sources today, and coal and natural gas power generation is expected to increase significantly.
BRT does not require electricity for propulsion, and modern BRT systems have lower emissions per passenger mile than typical city bus systems. BRT also is much less expensive than rail and can be implemented more quickly, enabling more extensive networks to be built without sacrificing quality. Moreover, BRT has proved to be just as effective as rail in encouraging people to use public transportation.
The result: "Cities that adopt BRT can maximize both greenhouse gas reductions and the ability of their public transportation systems to attract new riders," Vincent said. "If cities choose rail, they should cut greenhouse gas emissions by using electricity from renewable sources."
The Breakthrough Technologies Institute is a Washington DC-based non-profit that promotes innovative environmental and energy technologies. BTI's Bus Rapid Transit Policy Center provides information about BRT to policymakers and the public. See: www.gobrt.org.
The peer-reviewed analysis, "The Potential for Bus Rapid Transit to Reduce Transportation-Related CO2 Emissions," is available at: http://www.nctr.usf.edu/jpt/journalfulltext.htm.
Bill Vincent, 202-785-4222 ext. 30
Lisa Callaghan Jerram, 202-785-4222 ext. 16