TransLink commits to net zero emissions

Jan. 21, 2022
A new Climate Action Strategy maps TransLink’s path towards net zero and climate resiliency.

A Climate Action Strategy was released by TransLink that maps an aggressive path to zero greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).  

This strategy provides new emission reduction targets for all TransLink operations, fleet and facilities. It also identifies opportunities to create a more climate resilient transit system that better withstands the effects of climate change on infrastructure, as well as providing customer safety and comfort during extreme weather. 

This strategy applies to the entire fleet of more than 2,000 transit vehicles, more than 400 service vehicles and operations at more than 200 facilities such as stations, terminals, transit hubs, park n’ rides, transit centers, maintenance centers and administrative offices. 

The Climate Action Strategy sets new ambitious goals for TransLink and its operating companies, including: 

  • Net zero GHGs by 2050. 
  • Zero emissions from the bus fleet by 2040. 
  • A 45 percent reduction of GHGs by 2030 (over 2010 levels). 
  • Create a more resilient system that can better withstand climate impacts, that also keeps customers safe and comfortable in extreme weather. 

Road-based transportation including personal, commercial, industrial and public transit vehicles represent the largest single source of GHGs in the region, accounting for 35 percent of all emissions. While TransLink’s GHGs account for 2.7 percent of those emissions, the agency says it needs to accelerate action to ensure the transit system has no negative contribution to the changing climate. 

“The climate emergency is one of the most difficult challenges in human history, and we are seeing the devastating impacts of extreme weather in our region first-hand,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Quinn. “With an all-electric SkyTrain system, a large fleet of electric trolleybuses and growing fleet of battery electric buses, transit is already one of the most sustainable ways to travel in Metro Vancouver. That said, businesses and individuals have a collective responsibility to do everything we can to address the climate emergency. This strategy will eliminate our carbon footprint and lead to a cleaner and greener future for generations.” 

This strategy will help TransLink meet or exceed recommendations from the United Nations’ International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Metro Vancouver’s current regional targets, targets set by the federal government and provincial targets outlined in CleanBC. 

“Increasing access to reliable, comfortable and energy efficient public transportation is one of the best ways to drive down pollution and strengthen communities,” said George Heyman, B.C. Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “TransLink’s plan, supporting actions and improved services will make a positive contribution to B.C.’s CleanBC Roadmap to 2030, and are key to meeting our climate goals.” 

TransLink’s next steps include releasing a Climate Action Plan which will contain specific details on how it will achieve the goals set out in the Climate Action Strategy. That plan is projected to be released later this year and will complement Transport 2050. 

Other key objectives in the Climate Action Strategy include: 

  • Adding more than 400 new battery-electric buses in service by 2030. 
  • Adding the first zero emission fully electric SeaBus in service by 2030. 
  • Equipping 100 percent of te bus fleet with air conditioning by 2028. 
  • Building and operating a new transit center in the Marpole area of Vancouver that will house more than 300 battery-electric buses by 2027. 
  • Using only renewable natural gas in our compressed natural gas fleet by 2024. 

Key facts 

TransLink already has many near zero emission vehicles in operation, including: 

  • A fully electric SkyTrain system. 
  • 262 fully electric trolleybuses, the second largest fleet in North America. 
  • Four battery-electric buses with 15 more beginning to arrive in 2022. 

Each in service battery-electric bus reduces 100 metric tons of GHGs per year, compared to a conventional diesel bus. 

The target is to replace more than 400 diesel buses with zero-emission battery-electric buses by 2030, and the entire bus fleet by 2040.