Celebrate Earth Day the TriMet way


Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Ride Transit!

At TriMet, we’re always working to make our community the best place to live in the country. As part of that effort, the agency continually examines ways to minimize environmental impact in our daily operations, so we’re asking everyone to join us as we celebrate Earth Day with countries around the world on Sunday, April 22.

Earth Day is about environmental protection, and one of the most effective ways to do that every day is by taking transit instead of driving. Reducing the need for many separate trips by private vehicles improves air quality, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, relieves congestion and saves energy.

Earth Day, every day

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

Giving you more options to ride

Robust population growth in the Portland region continues, and that means a lot more cars, more commute trips, and much more congestion if we don’t invest now to meet future needs. Our 10-year service expansion plan is a commitment to meet those needs; In March 2018, we added three new bus lines and expanded service on some other existing bus lines. We’re planning to add more service in our fiscal year 2019 (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019). Learn more.

TriMet launching electric bus line

Also coming the next fiscal year: Our first all-electric buses and the electrification of a bus line. Earlier this month, assembly began on the first of five electric buses that TriMet plans to put on the road before the end of Fiscal Year 2019 (July 1, 1018 – June 30, 2019). The 40′ New Flyer Xcelsior Battery Electric Buses will run on TriMet’s first-ever clean, green all-electric bus line, the Line 62-Murray Blvd, which runs between Washington Square Transit Center and Sunset Transit Center. These buses will have the fuel efficiency equivalent of an estimated 24 miles per gallon, reducing fueling cost by as much as 80% over regular diesel or hybrid buses. Learn more.

TriMet is eager to test the latest all-electric technology as we pursue a future fleet powered by alternative fuels. The benefits of the electric buses include:

  • Cleaner air: These buses eliminate nitrogen oxides and diesel particulate matter, improving air quality in the communities they serve.
  • Quieter rides, especially in neighborhoods: The new electric buses were the quietest transit buses ever tested with the FTA’s standardized test protocol.

Cool cooling system

In the transit world, TriMet is a pioneer of a NASCAR-inspired cooling system that we use on about half our bus fleet. Traditional systems draw up to 50 horsepower off the engine, draining power and consuming fuel. The electrified cooling system reduces engine drag, maximizes horsepower and improves fuel economy by up to 10 percent. It won us a Clean Air Excellence Award from the Environmental Protection Agency. Learn more.

Recycling programs

TriMet also has a robust recycling program to ensure we handle our waste disposal safely and responsibly. In addition to recycling all office materials, our operations and maintenance facilities recycle:

o   Used oil (by contract, all used oil removed from TriMet     facilities must be recycled into a usable material)


o   Used antifreeze


o   Used oil filters



o   All batteries (including light rail (LRV), bus and non-revenue vehicle batteries, in addition to Ni-Cad, Lead Acid, and tool batteries)


o   Electronics, PC’s and monitors


o   Scrap metal


o   Cardboard


o   All light tubes, lamps and ballasts


o   Empty drums




o   Aerosol cans (punctured, drained and recycled as scrap metal)


o   Small cylinders (de-valved and recycled as scrap metal)


o   Shop towels (laundered off-site)


o   Paint-related solvents (the body shops at Ruby Junction Rail Facility and Merlo Bus Garage have stills to recycle these solvents)


o   Unused paints are taken by our waste disposal contractor and disposed of at  Waste Management)


o   Glass and commingled trash


o   Bus and LRV wash water – 100% recycled (All rinse water is captured and reused as wash water)

TriMet’s sustainable solar system

TriMet’s solar panel array near Portland State University is the largest in Downtown Portland and generates approximately 64,000 kilowatt hours annually. The total energy produced is equivalent to reducing 29 tons of carbon dioxide per year, and the excess power produced adds clean energy to the Portland General Electric grid.

MAX Orange Line joins the solar system

Since it opened in 2015, the MAX Orange Line has been operating with a focus on sustainability. Most of the MAX Orange Line platform shelters have thirty 200-watt solar panels installed to help offset the power usage required at stations, and all lighting along the line is LED, using one-sixth of the electricity and lasting 3.5 times longer than conventional metal halide bulbs.

The 7.3 mile Portland-Milwaukie connection also features green infrastructure with eco-roofs that reduce storm water runoff by and an average of 60 percent in any given area, and an eco-track that provides a carpet of flowering, low-growing evergreen plants that enrich the urban experience in the area while also reducing train noise and vibration.

The Orange Line is also home to a supercapacitor at the Tacoma St/Johnson Creek MAX Station. It stores energy from braking trains and feeds it back to other trains for acceleration or uphill climbs. The facility provides monthly energy savings 18,500 kilowatt hours or $2,026 in energy costs.

About TriMet

TriMet provides bus, light rail and commuter rail transit services in the Portland, Oregon metro area. We connect people with their community, while easing traffic congestion and reducing air pollution — making the Portland area a better place to live.