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 April 22, 2019

NEWARK, NJ – On this Earth Day 2019, NJ TRANSIT offers a reminder of the role mass transit plays in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improving the environment. 


“We’re all responsible for doing our part to protect the planet for future generations,’’ said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Kevin Corbett. “The choice to travel by rail, bus or light rail instead of a personal car offers an immediate alternative for anyone looking to reduce their carbon footprint. The simple act of switching to public transportation far exceeds the benefits of other household energy saving activities.’’


According to the latest GHG emissions inventory report from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), it is estimated that New Jersey’s transportation sector (including personal vehicles) accounts for 45.8 million metric tons CO2 equivalent (MMTCO2e), which is 42 percent of the gross GHG emissions statewide, by far the leading sector of emissions.  The majority of transportation emissions, nearly three quarters, comes from personal vehicles.  EPA estimates a single occupied vehicle emits 0.89 pounds of CO2 per passenger-mile.  The chart highlights NJ TRANSIT’s direct emissions through its various modes normalized on a per passenger-mile basis. 


NJ TRANSIT produces 50 percent less in GHG emissions per passenger-mile than the average person driving alone, demonstrating its efficiency.  NJ TRANSIT’s role in reducing emissions can be even more significant and can lead to even greater benefits as the more passengers who ride mass transit, the lower the emissions per passenger-mile.


In addition to efficiency benefits, there are land-use benefits of transit on GHG emissions.  Public transportation promotes compact developments; businesses, retail space, schools, and living areas are constructed within close proximity.  Land use promotes public transportation, walking, and cycling due to the close distance of travelled areas.  Compact development tends to emerge near transportation systems—bus depots, rail terminals, and light rail stations.  For instance, NJ TRANSIT’s Hudson Bergen Light Rail serves the high-density areas of Jersey City and Hoboken and connects residents to ferries, PATH, trains and buses.


Riding NJ TRANSIT is one way to reduce a person’s carbon footprint especially as NJ TRANSIT continues to reduce its own carbon footprint through actions such as efficiency upgrades at its maintenance facilities, deployment of solar generation and other low-carbon forms of electricity generation, and use of alternative fueled vehicles. 


NJ TRANSIT has been actively exploring the idea of introducing electric buses in revenue service for the past few years.  This emerging industry has seen technology advances and NJ TRANSIT has identified eight potential routes that might be conducive to electric vehicle characteristics in Camden County served by the Newton Bus Garage. With support from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust fund, state funding and federal funding via the FTA Low or No Emission Vehicle Program, NJ TRANSIT is advancing this pilot program in Camden, with bus customers expected to see electric vehicles in 2021.   Earth Day is celebrated annually worldwide to show support for environmental protection. The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970.



NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 925,000 weekday trips on 251 bus routes, three light rail lines, 12 commuter rail lines and through Access Link paratransit service. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 166 rail stations, 62 light rail stations and more than 19,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.