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Go Green

The MBTA reduces your footprint and its own

By riding the T and reducing the number of cars on the road, more than 1.3 million MBTA customers are helping protect the environment every day. In addition, the MBTA is constantly looking for new and improved ways to conserve energy, reduce emissions, promote recycling, and decrease waste. We are dedicated to delivering environmentally responsible, world-class transportation. Together, we can preserve our natural resources and enhance our quality of life.


How riding the T reduces your impact on the environment

  • By switching to the T rather than driving to and from work each day, a commuter will reduce his or her greenhouse gas emissions by 24 pounds per day or 5,760 pounds a year. That’s a nearly 13% decrease in the annual carbon footprint of a typical American household.

  • The average MBTA rider saves about 336 gallons of gasoline a year. Public transit users reduce US gasoline consumption by 1.4 billion gallons a year or the equivalent of 300,000 automobile fill-ups every day.

  • The environmental benefit of riding the T far exceeds the combined efforts of switching to energy-efficient light bulbs, adjusting thermostats, weatherizing your home, and replacing your refrigerator. Automobiles account for 47% of the carbon footprint of a typical American family with two cars.

  • A person living in Boston can save more than $12,679 a year by taking the T. By comparison, a Boston-area family spends $4,870 on groceries a year.


How the T reduces its impact on the environment

  • The T has decreased its energy consumption per passenger trip by 9% on buses, 6.5% on commuter rail, and by 24.5% on ferry trips since 2009. MBTA customers save the equivalent of 25.6 million gallons of gasoline annually.

  • The T recycled a total of nearly 2.5 million pounds of everything from paper and plastic to metal and electronics since 2011. Thanks to T customers, nearly 1.7 million pounds of our recyclables were newspapers deposited in station recycle bins.

  • The T purchases 20% of all its electricity from certified renewable energy sources. As the state’s largest consumer of electricity, the T’s renewable energy purchase program has decreased its greenhouse gas emissions by 32,000 tons annually or the equivalent of the emissions generated by 11,700 Massachusetts homes.

  • The T has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions per passenger trip by 23% since 2009. MBTA riders save 2.9 million tons of greenhouse gases annually—equivalent to the emissions from electricity generated by 50% of the households in Boston.

  • The T has decreased its water usage per passenger trip by 28% since 2009. The T’s water conservation pilot program at the Charlestown Bus Garage will save 4.6 million gallons of water a year. By comparison, the typical family of four uses, on average, 146,000 gallons of a year or the equivalent of seven Olympic-size pools.

You can make a difference

Each of us can become a steward of the earth. You can contribute in many ways—big and small. Riding the MBTA is one way that provides significant environmental benefits to our local community and beyond.

The MBTA welcomes your ideas and suggestions on how we can enhance our sustainability efforts. Contact our Environmental Hotline at 617-222-4376 or email us at sustainability@mbta.com.

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