King County Metro Transit is headquartered in Seattle and serves the 1.9 million residents of King County — a sprawling service area of 39 cities, dozens of unincorporated communities, and vast rural areas.
The region collectively has a deep interest in environmental issues, particularly when it comes to protecting air and water quality. It is an economic interest because of our agriculture and fisheries industries, and a personal commitment to healthy living with abundant recreational opportunities.
Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gases in King County, representing about half of our emissions. This means the way we plan our growth and transportation today will “cast the die” for future emissions by determining how people travel to work, play, shopping and services.
Fortunately, many of the steps we take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions — like creating vibrant urban centers where people can walk, bike or use transit — also have benefits for improving public health and protecting our open space, waterways, farms and forests.
Metro mirrors the environmental commitments and investments of the region it serves, and has been recognized as one of the greenest transit agencies in the nation. It’s not just one thing that we do, it’s woven into all of our operations and support activities.
One of our biggest contributions is our fleet of hybrid and electric buses. We have one of the largest fleets of hybrid articulated buses in the nation, our electric trolleys produce zero emissions, and our diesel coaches run on the cleanest fuels available.
This year, we’ll help pave the way for broader use of plug-in electric vehicles. Metro is using federal grant resources to install about 70 charging stations around King County — many in park-and-rides where they’ll be available for public use. We plan to add 20 plug-in electric vehicles to Metro’s vanpool fleet. And, the county has received federal funding to purchase a prototype electric-powered bus that will be able to travel up to 30 miles off the grid before recharging.
We’ve also adopted green practices behind the scenes. Metro’s recycling program kept 100 tons of material out of landfills last year. We recycle everything from paper to engine oil to broken bus-shelter glass. Our custodial group is justifiably proud of the award-winning green cleaning program they developed. They use “green seal” cleaning products and microfiber mops that require less water to do the job.
Metro’s commitment to sustainability continues into building energy-saving facilities, marketing travel options that let commuters leave their cars at home, and spearheading land-use policies and planning that reduce dependency on fossil fuels.
Making a commitment to “being green” cannot be just a slogan or public relations spin for the transportation industry. It is in our best interest to commit to sustainable practices to sustain our own budgets, our own customer base and our own quality of life.
InfraConsult is a consulting firm specializing in the development and financing of sustainable infrastructure projects and solutions. It offers a variety of services, including project and program management, transportation system environmental and operations planning, transportation policy consulting, and public involvement and community outreach. Regardless of the project or related services, the company strives to incorporate sustainable strategies in all of its endeavors.
From the firm’s inception in 2006, InfraConsult’s managing partners have been conscious of the social and economic benefits of sustainable practices, recognizing the environmental impacts of the infrastructure and transportation industry. It is for this reason that the firm’s mission is based on a philosophy of innovation and efficiency and why management has identified sustainability as a key goal.