Climate-conscious initiatives are taking the world by storm with a collective mission of saving our planet. The City of Los Angeles, more specifically the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), is furthering its commitment to this movement after signing an agreement with Clean Energy Fuels Corp. The agreement completes Metro’s 5-year goal to transition to low-carbon fuel, and will provide the city with roughly 47.5 million gallons of renewable natural gas (RNG) to fuel their buses.
Clean Energy’s Low Carbon Fuel
Clean Energy is a leading provider of clean fuel for America’s transportation industry. RNG is Clean Energy’s low-carbon fuel made entirely from the biogenic methane produced from decomposing organic waste. This alternative to gas and diesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by at least 70% and up to 300%, depending on the fuel source. RNG can be delivered in two different forms:
- CNG, or compressed natural gas, is a safer, nontoxic fuel compared to gasoline and diesel. It’s made from methane that is stored under high pressures, making it lighter than air and easier for transport
- LNG, or liquid natural gas, is methane that is cryogenically cooled to a liquid form. This process reduces its volume, making storage and transportation more cost-effective for marine, trucking, and rail fleets
Clean Energy is aiming to help Metro become the leader of clean public transportation by providing nearly 22 million gallons of RNG since 2017. But Metro continues to improve its sustainability efforts in ways other than sourcing their fuel from Clean Energy.
LA Metro’s Carbon Neutral Future
In 2016, LA. transportation officials took a major step towards optimizing both rail and highway systems in the city. They proposed a 40-year, $120 billion dollar plan that would dramatically expand and improve the public transportation system across LA.
Since then, the Metro Board of Directors approved the Moving Beyond Sustainability Plan in September 2020. The plan is a comprehensive sustainability strategy to increase Metro facilities’ transition to clean energy, and reduce air, smog, and greenhouse gas emissions across LA. By improving the public transportation system, officials hope to encourage residents off the roads to further reduce overall transportation emissions. They will focus their efforts on a few priority areas:
- Better transit
- Less congestion
- Complete streets
- Access to opportunities
By addressing issues related to transit accessibility, traffic congestion, and other transport obstacles, Metro hopes to achieve overall improved travel conditions, decrease travel, and easier access to resources and opportunities for all people.
Shifting Public Perception
While a city can offer a more convenient and cost-effective alternative to cars, changing people’s behavior to use the transportation system is going to take a lot of work. Public perception is a real problem, as Angelenos notoriously rely on private vehicles for travel. However, with their sustainability plan in action, LA Metro can possibly change the future of public transportation in Los Angeles. It will require a healthy marketing budget and plenty of coordinated PR expertise, including media outreach.