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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Sustainable Transit for a Healthy Planet Challenge

What's New


Learn more about FTA’s Sustainable Transit for a Healthy Planet initiative and how transit agencies are taking bold actions to tackle climate change.

On Earth Day 2022, FTA recognized the exemplary efforts of 10 transit agencies to combat climate change through the Sustainable Transit for a Healthy Planet initiative. FTA presented awards to celebrate agencies that are reducing greenhouse gas emissions with unique strategies that work for their systems and their communities:

  • Most Accomplished: Antelope Valley Transit Authority in Lancaster, Calif. met its 100% electric fleet goal, the first agency to achieve this feat in North America.
  • Most Ambitious: Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority set a goal that exceeded the President’s goals of a 50% reduction in GHG emissions.
  • Most Collaborative: Iowa City Transit successfully leveraged state, local and private partnerships to advance its climate action strategies.
  • Most Equitable: King County Metro in Seattle, Wash. developed a plan focused on addressing climate change impacts and transportation access in underserved communities.
  • Most Innovative: Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit in Urbana, Ill., demonstrated the use of creative solutions to implement its climate action strategy.
  • Most Transformative: Sound Transit in Seattle, Wash., developed a plan demonstrating sustainability throughout the agency, including fleets, facilities and operations.
  • First to the Finish: Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County in Houston, Tex., was the first to submit its new climate action plan, delivered on February 4, 2022.
  • Champions of the Challenge: This award was bestowed on small, medium, and large transit agencies that developed plans that include achievable, ambitious strategies for reaching their GHG emission reduction goals:
    • Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Austin, Texas (large)
    • Central Ohio Transit Authority, Columbus, Ohio (medium)
    • Rockford Mass Transit District, Rockford, Ill. (small)

The Challenge

On April 22, 2021, President Biden announced an ambitious goal: for the United States to achieve a 50-52 percent reduction from 2005 levels in economy-wide net greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution in 2030. 

On June 15, 2021, FTA launched the Sustainable Transit for a Healthy Planet Challenge to encourage transit agencies to take bold action to further reduce GHG emissions from public transportation to support President Biden’s GHG reduction goal. The challenge calls on transit agencies to develop climate, sustainability, or electrification or zero-emission transition plans that include strategies with measurable goals to achieve GHG emission targets. 

During the first phase of the challenge – which took place June 2021 to April 2022 – over 165 transit agencies signed on. During Phase 2, FTA seeks to increase transit agency participation by 25 percent to ensure the transit industry continues to make progress in curbing greenhouse gas emissions. 

All transit agencies nationwide, regardless of size or service area, are encouraged to participate in the Challenge. Throughout 2022 and early 2023, FTA will continue to provide technical assistance to participants as they develop their plans and strategies.

Is your transit agency ready to step up to the challenge? Sign up for the Sustainable Transit for a Healthy Planet Challenge.

Contribute to the conversation by using #FTAClimateInitiative.

Schedule
June 15, 2021 FTA kicks off Phase 1 of the Sustainable Transit for a Healthy Planet Challenge.Climate Challenge logo
April 22, 2022 FTA showcased the Phase 1 challenge results and transit agency success stories. Ten transit agencies were recognized for the exemplary efforts. A recording of the Earth Day event is available for viewing.
April 22, 2022 FTA kicks off Phase 2 of the Challenge. Additional details and schedule forthcoming. 

Challenge Participants

View the list of agencies who have signed up for the Challenge and the climate/sustainability plans submitted.

Challenge Resources

  • FTA Dear Colleague Letter: Fleet Transition Plan – This letter provides an update about FTA’s implementation of the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Competitive Program and the Low or No Emission Program. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law amended the statutory provisions for these programs to include the requirement that any application for projects related to zero-emission vehicles include a Zero-Emission Transition Plan.
     
  • Climate Action Plan Template – The template provides a sample structure that an agency can follow to document its climate action plan.
     
  • APTA’s Guidelines for Climate Action Planning – The APTA Guidelines lay out a framework for approaching climate action planning, and discuss considerations to keep in mind as an agency goes through the planning process.
     
  • The Climate Registry – The Climate Registry offers online resources to support organizations with inventorying and reporting GHG emissions.
     
  • Webinar Recordings:
    • FTA Transit Leaders Climate Change Roundtable – On June 15, 2021, FTA held a roundtable with transit agency leaders on the industry’s role in achieving GHG emissions reduction targets. FTA and the Office of the Secretary provided information on the Biden-Harris Administration’s GHG goals and program opportunities while representatives from the Antelope Valley Transit Authority, the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and Park City Transit provided information on their agency’s climate change initiatives and discussed associated best practices and challenges.
       
    • Measuring Reductions of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Webinar: On July 27, 2021, FTA and APTA hosted a joint webinar on tools and resources for measuring greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through public transportation. Practitioners discussed strategies to measure their agencies’ GHG emissions, and how they quantify results and outcomes.  This webinar is part of a series of events that support agencies in developing climate action plans and other strategies to reduce GHG emissions. A recording of the webinar can be accessed via registration through the APTA website.
       
    • Best Practices in Developing Climate Action Plans Webinar: On September 9, 2021, FTA and APTA hosted a second joint webinar on how transit agencies play a critical role in creating regions that are safer, stronger, cleaner, and more equitable. Attendees learned how a Climate Action Plan can guide operations in the era of climate change and learned about new APTA guidelines and FTA’s climate action plan template. A recording of the webinar can be accessed via registration through the APTA website.
       
    • Building the Business Case for Low-Carbon Public Transportation Service Webinar: On April 6, 2022, FTA and APTA hosted a joint webinar that featured transit organization leaders discussing ways that adoption of low-carbon and sustainability practices has led to reduced costs and contributed to a healthy triple bottom line. A recording of the webinar can be accessed via registration through the APTA website

Contact

Submit questions on the Sustainable Transit for a Healthy Planet Challenge to FTAClimateInitiative@dot.gov

Last updated: Wednesday, May 11, 2022