MDOT Maryland Transit Administration outlines zero-emission transition plan

Dec. 22, 2021
MDOT MTA’s first pilot ZEB program is scheduled for launch in 2023, when seven new battery-electric 40-foot and 60-foot articulated buses will arrive at the agency’s Kirk Division.

The Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) launched a zero-emission fleet transition plan ahead of the state of Maryland’s requirement that all new buses procured for the state’s fleet be emission-free beginning in 2023.

MDOT MTA says the incremental approach will include facility updates and is designed to meet the requirements of Maryland’s new Zero-Emission Bus Transition Act. The transition plan includes targets identified in the Central Maryland Regional Transit Plan and is guided by the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act Plan by the Maryland Department of the Environment.

“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 MTA has committed to converting 50 percent of its bus fleet to zero-emission by 2030 while providing reliable, efficient service throughout the transition and beyond. MDOT MTA calculations project that about 500 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions will be avoided through use of electric buses instead of diesel buses in the years between 2025-2030. Noise pollution also will be reduced.

“The phased conversion of MDOT MTA’s bus fleet to clean, efficient, zero-emissions buses is a critical element of our systemwide modernization,” MDOT Secretary Greg Slater said. “We’re using technology and innovation to improve service, operations, connectivity and the rider experience. Zero-emission buses serve that mission and also advance Maryland’s greenhouse gas reduction goals.”

MDOT MTA’s first pilot ZEB program is scheduled for launch in 2023, when seven new battery-electric 40-foot and 60-foot articulated buses will arrive at the agency’s Kirk Division.

MDOT MTA’s Kirk Division will be the first to transition to a 100 percent electric bus facility by the end of 2026. The Northwest Division, which will begin a retrofit in early 2025, will highlight the second phase of the ZEB program with electric buses arriving in 2026.

The Eastern Division is anticipated to begin its reconstruction in 2026 and is planned to become one of the few facilities in the U.S. that are purpose-built zero-emission bus facilities, housing a zero-emission bus fleet starting in 2028. Beginning in 2030, the Bush Division is planned for a series of similar infrastructure investments.

Purchase of the new buses for this pilot program and the infrastructure for charging them will utilize grant funding from the Low or No Emission Vehicle Program from the Federal Transit Administration, and the Volkswagen Settlement.

While MDOT MTA plans to deploy battery-electric buses in the initial years of the ZEB transition, the agency says it will continue to evaluate developments in hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. This approach will enable the agency to purchase the newest, smartest technology as advancements occur in this rapidly evolving field. It also gives MDOT MTA time to develop infrastructure – such as charging stations – and employee training necessary to efficiently operate and maintain this technology.

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