Riding TriMet is the best way to celebrate Earth Day

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Making everyday Earth Day is the TriMet Way

At TriMet, we aim to make everyday Earth Day, which is why our sustainability efforts reach every part of our operation. On Saturday, April 22, we will be celebrating the official Earth Day with more than 190 countries around the world, demonstrating global support for environmental protection.

One of the most effective ways to make everyday Earth Day is by taking the bus, MAX or WES instead of driving your car alone. Our bus and rail lines bring a host of sustainable benefits to the Portland area, and we’re always coming up with ways to do more.

TriMet reduces the need for many separate trips by private vehicles, which improves air quality, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, relieves congestion and saves energy.

  • Every day TriMet—MAX, WES and bus combined—eliminates more than 200,000 car trips.
  • MAX carries 33 percent of evening rush-hour commuters traveling from downtown Portland on the Sunset Highway and Interstate 84.
  • A TriMet rider’s carbon footprint is 60 percent less than a car driver’s (per mile versus driving alone).

In addition to the environmental and sustainability benefits our service provides, we have implemented a robust recycling program and many energy saving tools that help the environment, including green infrastructure and environmentally friendly construction practices, solar energy, hybrid buses, NASCAR-inspired cooling and MAX regenerative braking.

Recycling Programs
Recycling and materials management are a key part of our environmental program. This program, and our dedicated employees, insure that we handle our waste disposal safely and responsibly.  In addition to recycling all office materials, our operations and maintenance facilities recycle:

  • Used oil (by contract, all used oil removed from TriMet facilities must be recycled into a usable material
  • Used antifreeze
  • Used oil filters
  • Bus and non-revenue vehicle tires
  • All batteries (including light-rail, bus and non-revenue vehicle batteries, in addition to Ni-Cad, Lead Acid, and tool batteries)
  • Electronics, PC’s and monitors
  • Scrap metal
  • Cardboard
  • All light tubes, lamps and ballasts
  • Empty drums
  • Pallets
  • Aerosol cans (punctured, drained and recycled as scrap metal)
  • Small cylinders (de-valved and recycled as scrap metal)
  • Shop towels (laundered off-site)
  • Solvents (the body shops at Ruby Junction Rail Facility and Merlo Bus Garage have stills to recycle solvents)
  • Non-hazardous paints (recycled into new paints through Metro)
  • Glass and commingled
  • Parts washer solvent (recycled with the used oil)
  • Bus and LRV wash water – 100% recycled (All rinse water is captured and reused as wash water)

Green Infrastructure
Bioswales filter and slow stormwater runoff, and the innovative eco-track project at the SW Lincoln/3rd Ave MAX Station provides a vegetated trackway that reduces runoff and flooding. Learn more

Solar Energy
The solar panel array near Portland State University — the largest in Downtown Portland — generates 64,000 kilowatt hours of electricity and saves tons of CO2 every year. We’ve also installed solar panels on Orange Line shelters. Learn more

Hybrid Buses
We continue to test emerging technologies for our buses. Our latest hybrids can operate in fully electric mode and have about 20 percent better gas mileage than standard buses. We’re also poised to test the next generation of electric buses. Learn more

NASCAR-Inspired Cooling
The innovative electronic cooling system found on our newer buses reduces engine drag, maximizes horsepower and improves fuel economy by up to 10%. It also won us a Clean Air Excellence Award from the Environmental Protection Agency. Learn more

MAX Regenerative Braking
The energy created as Orange Line trains brake — that would otherwise be lost as heat — is stored in supercapacitors and put back into the MAX system to keep voltage stable, reducing power outages that can cause service disruptions. Learn more

Planning for the future

We are growing. The Portland region is expected to see 400,000 new residents by 2035. That’s approximately four times the current population of Hillsboro, according to the 2014 Urban Growth Report published by Metro. An additional 260,000 new jobs are also projected.

That means a lot more cars, a lot more commute trips and — if we aren’t deliberate in investing to meet the need — a lot more congestion.

Transit clearly is part of our region’s success, mobility and environmental sustainability. As we plan for this future growth we need to plan on transit. Learn more about the Future of Transit.

To our riders: Thank you!

Thank you for riding and making a difference in our community. Riding transit helps the environment and reduces congestion. We couldn’t do what we do without you.