Emphasizing the need to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) held a Clean Air Transit Fair Sept. 16 at the State Capitol.
Exhibitors provided information about transit, displayed the latest electric, hybrid and clean technology buses, and highlighted the health benefits of bicycling and walking as a form of transit.
“Public transportation is a powerful tool in the governor’s fight to respond to climate change,” said Caltrans Director Will Kempton.
Proposition 1B, championed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and approved by voters in 2006, provides $4 billion for public transportation. Caltrans administers this program, which to date has provided funding for 205 projects, including adding 40 rail miles, rehabilitating 290 buses and 60 rail cars, and purchasing 1,095 new buses, including Compressed Natural Gas buses to replace older buses that emit more pollutants. Caltrans is also using $400 million in Proposition 1B funding to purchase new rail cars and add capacity to rail lines.
As a member of California’s Climate Action team, Caltrans has been working to facilitate greenhouse gas emission reduction measures by working with the California Air Resources Board and the Administration’s Climate Action Team to support development and implementation of the program. Caltrans also collaborates with local and regional agencies, academic and research institutions, and environmental and energy agencies to advance the state’s climate objectives.
In addition, Caltrans researchers are using technology to make public transit operate more smoothly and safely. “Smart parking” provides real-time transit parking information that directs highway drivers to available parking spaces at transit stations. “Bus Rapid Transit” gives priority to buses at intersection traffic lights, reducing delays and travel time. “Vehicle Assist Automation” enables full-speed bus operations in tight spaces, where drivers would otherwise need to slow down significantly.