Maryland DOT Launches Zero-emission Fleet Transition Plan

Published on: 4 January 2022 02:00 AM
by KnowESG
An electric bus passing by

A Brief Summary

The Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) is preparing to transition to zero-emission buses in response to Maryland's Zero-Emission Bus Transition Act and the rising need to keep on top of technology and replace its ageing fleet. During the early years of the changeover, MDOT will use battery-electric buses and will also study hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. According to the agency, this will enable it to purchase the most up-to-date and intelligent technology as industry breakthroughs emerge.

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The Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) has initiated a zero-emission fleet transition plan in advance of the state's mandate that all new buses procured for the state's fleet be emission-free by 2023.

The stepwise approach, according to MDOT MTA, would include facility modifications and is intended to comply with Maryland's new Zero-Emission Bus Transition Act. The transition plan is governed by the Maryland Department of the Environment's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act Plan and includes targets stated in the Central Maryland Regional Transit Plan.

“We’re proud to continue our commitment to sustainability and reduce the agency’s carbon footprint,” said MDOT MTA Administrator Holly Arnold. “Zero-emission buses are a win-win for the citizens of Maryland who get to enjoy cleaner air while knowing their transit agency is doing its part to address climate change.”

MDOT has pledged to transition half of its bus fleet to zero-emission by 2030 while maintaining dependable, efficient service during the transition and beyond. According to MDOT MTA estimations, using electric buses instead of diesel buses will save around 500 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions between 2025 and 2030. Noise pollution will be minimised as well.

The Eastern Division is expected to begin reconstruction in 2026 and will be one of the few purpose-built zero-emission bus facilities in the United States, hosting a zero-emission bus fleet starting in 2028. The Bush Division will see a series of similar infrastructure developments starting in 2030.

The new buses for this pilot programme, as well as the charging infrastructure, will be purchased with grant money from the Federal Transit Administration's Low or No Emission Vehicle Program and the Volkswagen Settlement.

MDOT MTA said it will continue to investigate improvements in hydrogen fuel cell cars while deploying battery-electric buses in the early years of the ZEB changeover. As breakthroughs in this quickly expanding industry emerge, this method will allow the agency to purchase the newest, brightest technology. It also provides the MDOT MTA time to create infrastructures, such as roads and bridges.