Chicago Transit Authority Celebrates Earth Week

April 19, 2006
04/19/06

Environmental Initiatives Integral Part of CTA Operations

In honor of Earth Week, Chicago Transit Authority reminds the general public that taking public transportation is good for the environment, and encourages residents throughout the region to leave their cars at home and take some form of public transportation.

"Whether it's CTA, Metra or Pace, the use of public transportation takes automobiles off the road, reducing air pollution," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole Brown. ?One full eight-car CTA train is the equivalent of 1,000 vehicles off the roads and that means cleaner air for everyone in the region."

This Wednesday, April 19 ? Earth Day ? CTA joined more than 25 organizations from throughout the City in an Earth Day celebration in Daley Plaza to commemorate environmental accomplishments and promote continued efforts to improve the quality of the environment in Illinois.

CTA representatives promoted the use of public transportation and showcased the environmentally-friendly initiatives undertaken by the CTA by distributing information about CTA's Bike & Ride program; Chicago Cards; maps of the CTA system; and a flyer of CTA environmentally-friendly initiatives.

"CTA seeks out opportunities to incorporate environmentally-friendly technologies and initiatives into our operations," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?Our efforts ? from spearheading the use of ultra low sulfur diesel fuel to installing recycled railroad ties ? are important to protecting the environment."

Through its environmentally-friendly initiatives CTA has been able to reduce total emissions from its in service fleet by 22 percent or 564 tons since 1997.

The CTA has added more than 700 new buses since 2000 ? and introduced particulate filters and ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel, among other initiatives ? to its operations.

In February, CTA began receiving the first of 265 low-emission buses to the fleet. The New Flyer buses have an engine that produces 60 percent fewer emissions than the 1991 5300-Flxible buses they are replacing. The New Flyer buses include delivery this summer of 20 diesel electric hybrids that are powered by both diesel engines and electric motors to further reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency.

In addition, CTA currently has four hybrid-electric Ford Escapes in its fleet of non-revenue vehicles. CTA also has 24 vans in its non-revenue fleet that are powered by compressed natural gas. As advances continue in hybrid and clean diesel technology, along with other environmentally friendly initiatives, the CTA will continue to monitor their cost efficiency, performance and environmental benefits.

See the attached list of CTA initiatives to help the environment.

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CTA Environmental Initiatives

Fleet Upgrade
Since 2000, the CTA has added more than 700 new buses to and performed midlife overhauls on more than a hundred others. CTA is in the process of receiving 265 low-emission buses from New Flyer of America. The New Flyer buses have an engine that produces 60 percent fewer emissions than the 1991 5300-Flxible buses it is replacing. The New Flyer bus order includes delivery this summer of 20 diesel electric hybrids that are powered by both diesel engines and electric motors to further reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency.

Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD)
In March 2003, the CTA converted all diesel vehicles in its fleet of buses and non-revenue vehicles to ultra low sulfur diesel fuel. The use of ULSD fuel, in combination with particulate matter filters, has enabled CTA's NABI buses and retrofitted 1995 New Flyers to experience a 90 to 95 percent reduction in emissions. Even older model buses ? those without particulate filters ? experience a five to 15 percent lower emissions level as a result of the conversion.

By converting to ULSD in 2003, the CTA is well ahead of schedule in implementing the 2007 Federal Emission requirements for reduced particulate matter and carbon monoxide.

Hybrid Electric Vehicles
In 2004, CTA purchased four hybrid-electric vehicles to include in its fleet of non-revenue vehicles. The Ford Escape hybrid-electric vehicles replaced older CTA non-revenue vehicles used by field personnel to monitor bus route performance, transport materials and travel to maintenance facilities.

Compressed Natural Gas non-revenue vehicles
CTA has 24 non-revenue vans which use compressed natural gas. As advances continue in hybrid and clean diesel technology, along with other environmentally friendly initiatives, the CTA will continue to monitor their cost efficiency, performance and environmental benefits.

Composite Recycled Plastic Railroad Ties
CTA is replacing existing wooden rail ties with recycled plastic rail ties on much of its system to improve performance and lessen the environmental impact. The plastic ties have a corrugated surface that better adheres to the gravel track bed and provides better stability. Plastic ties last twice as long as wood ties, 50 years compared to 25, and better resist decay, insects, water absorption and are free of chemical preservatives. To date, CTA has replaced 42,000 of its 650,000 wooden rail ties with plastic ties.

Wooden ties remain in use on curves and around switches. Curves required wooden ties to handle the extra stress from a turning train and switches produce a higher level of heat not conducive for plastic tie use.

Green Roofs
CTA installed green roofs at the new CTA Headquarters building and at the Clifton Electrical substation. The green roofs improve air quality, conserve energy, reduce storm-water runoff and help reduce the urban heat island effect.

Light Retrofit
CTA is working to retrofit lighting in shops and garages with energy efficient lighting.

Ozone Action Days
In hot weather, CTA alerts employees to use public transit.

Fuel Cell Bus Demonstration
The CTA was the first agency to test three fuel cell buses the pilot ran from Sept. 18, 1997 through March 23, 2000, and assist in the development of the technology. The experiment was a partnership between the CTA and Ballard Power Systems, a manufacturer of fuel cells. CTA helped with the development by gathering data for use in the design and development of commercial heavy-duty fuel cell engines and Ballard fuel cells.

Bike & Ride Program
All CTA buses are equipped with bike racks to encourage the use of bicycles throughout the CTA service area. In addition, CTA has installed indoor bicycle parking at 68 rail stations in cooperation with the Chicago Department of Transportation.

Recycling
By providing over 250 newspaper recycling bins at rail stations, CTA encourages customers to contribute to its recycling efforts.

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