State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Workshop Outlines Challenges and Opportunities for Electrifying NYC Buses

bus on nyc streets
An all-electric bus in New York City. Photo: AEMoreira042281

The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) is the largest public transit authority in the United States, with a fleet of more than 5,700 buses. As of January 2019, about half of the MTA’s fleet was diesel-fueled. (The remainder was diesel hybrid and natural gas.) Most of the buses MTA ordered between 2010 and 2019 are diesel buses.

In early 2018, the MTA initiated an electric bus pilot to test operational performance and gather data to support the agency’s long-term goal of transitioning to a zero-emissions fleet by 2040. Under the current pilot, the MTA is operating five Proterra E2 Catalyst models and five New Flyer XE40 Xcelsior models for a trial period of three years. The MTA’s capital budget plan for 2020–2024—released in September 2019—calls for a $1.1 billion investment in electric buses. The MTA estimates that this allocation would allow it to purchase 500 electric buses over the next five years. The capital budget plan states that all vehicle purchases after the year 2029 will be electric.

On September 17, 2019, Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP) hosted a workshop on the electrification of New York City’s bus fleet. The workshop followed up on a May 2019 report by graduate students at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, which offers a number of observations and recommendations to assist the MTA with meeting its goal of fully electrifying New York City’s municipal bus fleet by 2040. Read more about the main points discussed in the workshop.

Banner featuring a collage of extreme heat images.

Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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