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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Sustainable Transit for a Healthy Planet Challenge

Climate Challenge logo

Overview

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 build on progress already made and to further reduce GHG emissions from public transportation to support President Biden’s GHG reduction goal.

Transportation is a major source of GHG emissions in the United States, accounting for 29 percent of 2019 GHG emissions (EPA’s U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2019). Public transportation plays an important role in reducing a community’s transportation GHG emissions through transportation and land use efficiencies.

Transit agencies are increasingly taking actions to reduce their own carbon emissions to further the GHG emission reduction benefits associated with public transportation. Public transit bus fleets are undergoing a dramatic shift toward transitioning to alternative fuel sources. In 2019, 18 percent of the nation’s bus fleet was hybrid-electric, from only 1 percent in 2005, and the number of electric buses continues to grow.

The Challenge

FTA's Sustainable Transit for a Healthy Planet Challenge encourages transit agencies to take bold actions and investments to cut GHG emissions. The challenge calls on transit agencies to develop climate action strategies with measurable goals to achieve GHG emission targets. All transit agencies nationwide, regardless of size or service area, are encouraged to develop climate action or sustainability plans that detail GHG reduction strategies, such as converting fleets to electric buses and making facilities more energy efficient.

Throughout 2021 and early 2022, FTA will provide technical assistance through the Climate Challenge to support agencies in their development of climate action plans or other strategies. On Earth Day 2022, FTA will showcase the impact of the challenge and transit agency success stories toward reducing their GHG emissions.

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 the Sustainable Transit for a Healthy Planet Challenge.
October 29, 2021 Deadline for transit agencies to sign up for the challenge.
July 2021 – March 2022 Participate in webinars to learn from FTA and transit agency stakeholders on actions transit agencies can take to reduce their GHG emissions.
April 15, 2022 Deadline for agencies to submit their climate action strategies with measurable goals to achieve GHG emission targets. Agencies can submit their completed plans to FTA at FTAClimateInitiative@dot.gov.
April 22, 2022 FTA event to showcase the challenge results and transit agency success stories.

Challenge Participants

View the list of agencies who have signed up for the Challenge.

Challenge Resources

  • Climate Action Plan Template – The template provides a sample structure that an agency can follow to document its climate action plan.
     
  • Example Climate Action Plans – Explore existing transit Climate Action Plans and other sustainability plans to use as a reference.
     
  • 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.
     
  • 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.

Contact

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

Last updated: Friday, September 17, 2021