Pittsburgh Regional Transit (PRT) is building on ten years of sustainability initiatives to establish the agency's first climate action plan. The plan is PRT’s first roadmap to our zero emissions future and a tool for seeking new funding to complete the journey.

Read the plan!

PRT's first climate action plan is complete and ready for review.

What's in the Plan?

PRT plays an essential role in building a more sustainable and equitable region.

We are working toward a future where sustainable transit-oriented development provides Pittsburghers with access to affordable housing, employment opportunities, education, healthcare, recreation, and services they need within a short trip from zero emission transit. We work with many partners to create communities that are healthier, more resilient, and better connected to the opportunities this region provides our residents to thrive. This plan is an effort to identify the clear implementable steps our agency can take in the decades ahead to help us get there. If you want to see this future become a reality, hop on a bus, paratransit vehicle, train, or incline and join us!

PRT’s total greenhouse gas emissions in metric tons of CO2 equivalents in fiscal year 2022 were 104,596 MT CO2e.

  • 67% of this was from the diesel and gas used by our bus fleets and support vehicles.
  • 23% of this is from our electricity use. This is buildings and our light rail system.
  • 5% is our use of natural gas to heat our buildings, run generators, and other activities.
  • 5% of this is our use of refrigerants.
  • We’re going to look at Scope 3 upstream emissions next, but they aren’t the focus of this initial plan.

*PRT's 2022 fiscal year ran from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022

PRT's climate action plan includes goals across seven areas:

  • Revenue Fleet: Transition to 100% zero emissions revenue fleet by 2045.
  • Non-Revenue Fleet: Transition to 100% zero emissions non-revenue fleet by 2045*.
  • Facilities & Infrastructure: Reduce facility and infrastructure emissions 65% by 2030*.
  • Ridership Benefit & Carbon Sinks: Achieve a 20% increase in equivalent carbon benefit by 2030*
  • Scope 3 Emissions: Calculate and begin to develop strategies to reduce Scope 3 emissions by 2028.
  • Climate Action Plan Governance: Establish and maintain supportive governance and accountability to ensure implementation of the climate action plan.
  • Sustainability Strategy: Grow PRT’s culture of sustainability to become a leader in sustainability practices, attract and retain staff, and ensure that PRT and the region are healthy, prosperous places for future generations.

*This goal is consistent with the aspirational targets.

PRT is setting targets and goals that it has a high level of confidence it can achieve based on what is known and funded today. These actions get PRT to a 90% reduction in greenhouse gas emission by 2045.

Beyond that PRT aspires to 100% greenhouse gas emission reductions by 2045, so it has identified studies and other actions it can take that will take more funding and capacity but can get to 100%.

The plan is full of goals, strategies, and actions, but these are PRT's top priorities:

  1. Grow ridership through service planning projects like Bus Line Redesign, completing the PRTX University Line bus rapid transit project and other corridor projects from NEXTransit, building transit-oriented development, establishing new fare programs, and working with employers and housing developers.
  2. Reduce diesel emissions by transitioning to zero emission vehicles and trying to replace the diesel we use in the meantime with R99 renewable diesel.
  3. Switch to renewable electricity for our buildings, and electric buses and light rail trains through utility contracts and by building our own solar panel projects.
  4. Reduce building electricity use by updating energy audits and targeting investments in HVAC and other energy-intensive systems consistent with the Facilities Master Plan.
  5. Reduce light rail electricity use by conducting an energy audit of the system and targeting investments where they can reduce our energy costs and improve system function.
  6. Reduce non-revenue fleet emissions from the cars, SUVs, trucks, and vans that PRT uses to operate our services by switching to electric vehicles, hybrids, and other technologies as they come to the market.

PRT's Climate Action Plan considers emissions, equity, and resilience.

The actions in the plan have been identified for their potential to reduce carbon emissions, contribute to more equitable communities, and improve the agency’s ability to adapt and withstand the challenges posed by climate change while maintaining financial stability. Actions with particularly high benefits in these three areas are identified in the plan with color-coded icons.

Frequently Asked Questions

Climate action plans (CAPs) are documents that detail the sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of an organization or municipality, set targets for reducing those emissions over time, and establish goals, strategies, and actions that will be taken to meet those reduction targets.

Yes! Riding transit is one of the most impactful actions an individual can take to reduce their contribution to climate change. Investments in transit are also one of the top actions that the federal, state, and local governments can take to reduce transportation-related emissions. The intent of transit agencies creating climate action plans is to recognize that the service we provide fights climate change, but it also comes with its own emissions that we can eliminate through the vehicles and electricity we purchase, and how we operate as a large government entity. PRT's Climate Action Plan focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), but also includes other actions that allow us to help the region become more equitable, resilient, and sustainable.

Read guidance and materials from Federal Transit Administration related to transit agency sustainability efforts and climate action plans.

The largest source of our emissions is from the burning of fossil fuel diesel in our buses. These emissions are far less than what would happen if all our riders drove gasoline fueled cars, but they can still be eliminated. PRT's 2021 long-range plan, NEXTransit, committed the agency to transitioning to a zero-emission fleet by 2045. PRT put its first battery electric buses into service in 2020 and is developing a plan to transition the entire fleet to this technology or others such as hydrogen fuel cells to meet our adopted goal.

PRT has many buildings throughout Allegheny County that use a significant quantity of electricity. These buildings can be more efficient through new systems and practices, but we are also committed to transitioning the source of our electricity to low or no emission sources. Another significant use of energy is our fully electric light rail vehicle fleet. As PRT replaces rail cars and improves light rail infrastructure, we can reduce our energy consumption.

It takes a lot of work to keep our transit system operating and safe. PRT's non-revenue fleet vehicles include police cars, pool cars, various classes of trucks, construction and other maintenance vehicles. Their emissions can be addressed by careful management that reduces the need for heavy duty vehicles and transitioning to low or zero emission technologies as they become available.

Yes! The top priority in PRT’s climate action plan is to increase ridership. Not only is this core to the agency’s mission, it also helps create more sustainable communities, and may lead to the most significant GHG reductions the agency can achieve. PRT is working to grow ridership through service planning projects like Bus Line Redesign, completing the PRTX University Line bus rapid transit project and other corridor projects from NEXTransit, building transit-oriented development, establishing new fare programs, and working with employers and housing developers. Most of the other projects in the climate action plan help us to serve our riders and communities better than we can today.

If you’re a rider, our efforts to improve service should mean you can get to more places and do so on-time. You’ll also notice nicer, newer vehicles that are quieter and more comfortable, stations and stops that provide a better and safer environment while you wait. Switching to emission free vehicles and buildings will improve local air quality and reduce stormwater runoff. Many of our projects will be designed to bring additional benefits to the communities we serve including park like amenities at busway and light rail stations, affordable housing in new transit-oriented development projects, and childcare facilities and shops that we’re planning to build into our new and rehabbed facilities.

The climate action plan is not just the PRT’s first roadmap to a zero emissions future, it’s also a tool for seeking new funding to complete the journey. Many of the projects and programs in this plan aren’t new costs to PRT and may allow us to use existing funding more efficiently. Other ideas that may have added costs are designed to allow PRT to tap new resources that are available now and that we expect to be available in the future. In fact, we think that updating our bus and rail fleet and buildings will be easier to fund if we can do it more sustainably because there are new funds available for zero emission vehicles than there are for diesel vehicles. The added benefit is that we’ll reduce our energy and operating costs at the same time.

The plan specifically identifies actions that can have significant benefits for disadvantaged communities and enable PRT and our region to better respond to extreme weather and other changes due to climate change. Creating projects that address equity and resilience while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions is not just good for Pittsburgh and our planet, it also increases the opportunities for new funding that PRT can use to serve our region.

PRT's first Climate Action Plan is focused on the emissions we are directly responsible for which is largely the fuels we burn, the electricity we use, and our refrigerants. These are referred to as Scope 1 and 2 emissions. Scope 3 emissions are due to services and the production of goods PRT uses. PRT is working to better capture information about these emissions to inform the next update to our greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory and the actions in our next plan.

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Derek Dauphin

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Deputy Chief of Strategic Initiatives

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