Combating Climate Change

Fighting Climate Change – One Bus Ride At A Time

Our climate is in crisis – and the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority is taking bold actions to address it.

In addition to developing a Climate Acton Plan, RIPTA is actively working with federal, state, and local partners on climate change solutions to reduce its carbon footprint and offer more sustainable transportation options.

While RIPTA is working to quickly decarbonize its fleet, its emissions account for only approximately 0.1% of the State’s overall emissions.  That’s where you come in.  Ride RIPTA. Choosing to ride RIPTA (vanpool, carpool, bicycle) helps make a big impact on the environment.

Climate Action at Work

RIPTA’s multi-faceted approach to battling the climate crisis is covered under the following projects, plans, and programs.  These include:

  • Transit Forward RI 2040 (adopted 2020) Transit Forward RI 2040, Rhode Island’s first Transit Master Plan (TMP), provides a clear vision for growing transit service over the next 20 years. The goal is to deliver safe, reliable, frequent transit services that will make Rhode Island more livable without a car.
  • Action Plan for Electrification and Service Growth (anticipated completion in 2023) The Action Plan for Electrification and Service Growth (APEG) is currently in development and provides a roadmap for RIPTA to implement the TMP while also decarbonizing all of its services.  This plan is expected to be completed in the first half of 2023.
  • Bus Electrification Pilot Program
  • Phase I (completed Fall 2022) Phase I of RIPTA’s Bus Electrification Pilot Program was a demonstration pilot of three battery electric buses operated primarily on the R-Line.  This demonstration pilot allowed RIPTA to explore the technology, build capacity around the unique operations of these vehicles, and develop first-hand experience to inform future projects.
  • Phase II (anticipated launch in 2023) For Phase II of RIPTA’s Bus Electrification Pilot Program, RIPTA is electrifying the R-Line service in Providence and Pawtucket with fourteen battery electric buses.  This pilot project includes the development of Rhode Island’s first in-line charging station, which will allow these fourteen vehicles to charge throughout the day, so their range is extended. Once this phase is complete, 1 in 5 RIPTA passenger trips will be provided on a zero-emissions vehicle. Phase II is expected to launch early in 2023.
  • Phase III (anticipated launch in 2025) Phase III of RIPTA’s Bus Electrification Pilot Program is the conversion of RIPTA’s depot in Middletown to a completely electric facility.  This project will fully electrify all service dispatched from that garage facility, which includes the majority of service on Aquidneck Island and significant service in South County.  RIPTA was recently awarded a $22.37 million grant to advance this project.
  • Renewable Energy for RIPTA (launched 2021) In 2020, RIPTA invested in a solar field in East Providence that provides electricity for RIPTA’s campuses.  This solar field went live in early 2021 and provides approximately 95% of RIPTA’s energy for its campuses.
  • Transit Infrastructure Sustainability Plan (completed 2020) The Transit Infrastructure Sustainability Plan determined RIPTA’s full carbon footprint (FY2019) and explored sustainable greenhouse gas reduction solutions. This plan provided further insights in terms of internal decision-making on capital projects and wider sustainability efforts by RIPTA.
  • Sustainable Fleet Transition Plan (completed 2016) RIPTA carried out a technical assessment that evaluated the opportunities and implications of fleet conversion. It looked at commercially available technologies, such as battery-electric, natural gas, and hydrogen fuel cell, to see which amongst them had the ability to meet RIPTA’s operational needs.  This analysis set the stage for current projects.

Learn More

Want to learn more about Rhode Island’s climate change and resiliency efforts?

Click here.

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