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17 CHAPTER FOUR TRANSIT STRATEGIES TO REDUCE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS Transit agencies can reduce GHG emissions from transpor- ridership or reducing energy consumption. Transit agencies tation by reducing the amount of miles traveled in private typically pursue these strategies primarily to broaden their vehicles, by reducing congestion, by catalyzing compact customer base, improve customer service, and reduce costs. development patterns, and by reducing their own emissions. Some strategies also reduce emissions of criteria pollutants, Agencies can pursue specific strategies to achieve reduc- as required by existing environmental regulations, or reduce tions in each of these areas. Some strategies reduce GHG congestion, in keeping with federal transportation planning emissions through more than one of the four mechanisms. statutes. Reducing GHG emissions is often seen as a co- Ultimately, any strategy that reduces the consumption of benefit, rather than a goal, of strategies. For each category fossil-based energy will reduce GHG emissions. This chap- of strategies, survey respondents indicated how GHG emis- ter provides an overview of the various types of strategies, sions factored into decision making. Respondents chose one results from the survey, and specific examples of strategies of four options: from some transit agencies. 1. Reducing GHG emissions is a principal factor in the Results from the survey of transit agencies in Table 3 agency's decision to pursue these strategies. demonstrate the prevalence of different strategy types. Strategies that increase vehicle passenger loads are the most 2. Reducing GHG emissions is a factor in the agency's common among survey respondents, followed by strategies decision to pursue these strategies, but not a principal that improve transit vehicle fuel economy through opera- one. tions and maintenance techniques. Use of alternative fuels was cited least frequently, but all strategy types were cited 3. The agency is aware of the potential impact of these by at least two-thirds of survey respondents. Note that some strategies on GHG emissions. individual strategies may fall into more than one of the cat- egories in Table 3. 4. The agency has not considered the impact of these strategies on GHG emissions. TABLE 3 AGENCIES PURSUING STRATEGIES THAT REDUCE GHG Results are reported in each subsection. EMISSIONS (% of 41 respondents) Planning or A principal way that transit agencies can reduce GHG Strategy Categories Implementing emissions is to increase transit ridership so that fewer people Increasing Vehicle Passenger Loads 93% drive their cars to reach their destinations. Existing transit agencies can increase ridership in two primary ways: offer- Vehicle Operations and 90% ing more transit service, and enticing people to make better Maintenance use of transit service. Agencies often pursue the two strategy Mitigating Congestion 88% types in tandem, to ensure that new services are well used. Alternative Fuel and Vehicle Types 90% Some factors that affect transit ridership are beyond the Other Energy Efficiency/Renewable immediate control of transit agencies. For example, existing 83% Energy Initiatives urban forms, the price of fuel, and the price of parking all Expanding Transit Service 78% influence transit ridership. Although fuel prices fluctuate in Construction and Maintenance 73% response to broad economic trends, local agencies do control urban development patterns and the price of publicly owned Promoting Compact Development 70% parking. Local agencies can use such levers to support the use of transit. The most successful transit systems are not a Many strategies that reduce GHG emissions are already product of one transit agency working alone, but of a part- common across agencies because they address agencies' tra- nership of transit and other public agencies supporting tran- ditional goals. A number of the strategies work by increasing sit through good urban planning and policy. Nevertheless,