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Climate Change and Sustainability at the MBTA

Aerial view of the T's solar canopy covering a parking lot in West Hingham.

The MBTA plays an important role in helping to reduce emissions in Massachusetts—a transit system that meets the needs of the 21st century, helps get people out of their cars, and supports good land use in Greater Boston.

To meet the transportation needs of our region, the MBTA uses many forms of energy: electricity, natural gas, diesel, steam, and other carbon-based fuels. We seek to reduce our carbon footprint and our impact on the environment whenever possible.

The MBTA's Environmental Management Sustainability Policy lays out the MBTA’s guiding principles to:

  • Reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other air quality impacts
  • Diligently maintain and exceed environmental compliance at our facilities

As of January 2021, 100% of the MBTA’s system is powered by certified renewable electricity.

Our climate change strategies are designed to mitigate the impact of greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the effects of a changing climate by building a resilient system.

Climate Change Resiliency

Tiger dams tested for flooding prevention at Aquarium Station in 2019

While we work to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, climate change will continue to impact public transit in Greater Boston.

Extreme weather events—heavy rain, storm surge, and sea level rise—can delay or disrupt service, threaten the health and safety of our customers and employees, and increase the cost of repair, maintenance, and operations. These events are expected to increase in both frequency and intensity in the next 50 years.

Our Plan to Address Climate Change

We are committed to mitigating the risks of climate change and investing in a more sustainable transit system.

Partnerships and Recognition

Environmental Business Council of New England (EBC)

In 2021, the MBTA received the EBC Award for Climate Change Project of the Year from the Environmental Business Council of New England (EBC). The MBTA was awarded this honor in recognition of its conversion to 100% renewable electricity, effective January 1, 2021.

Learn more about the MBTA’s renewable energy contracts

Bond Buyer Recognition

In 2017, the MBTA's first sustainability bond issuance was recognized as The Bond Buyer's 2017 Northeast Regional Deal of the Year and was a finalist for the National Deal of the Year. Proceeds from MBTA sustainability bonds are used to finance projects with clear environmental, social, and economic benefits.

American Public Transportation Association (APTA)

In 2015, the MBTA was awarded the Gold Level Recognition as part of the APTA Sustainability Commitment Pledge, which sets standards for environmental preservation, social responsibility, economic viability of the system, and overall quality of life for commuters.

Leading by Example Award

In 2014, the MBTA was recognized by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Executive Office for Administration and Finance for its outstanding effort to implement policies and programs that have decreased energy consumption per passenger trip by 12.9%.

Learn more about the Leading By Example Program

Sustainability Programs

To learn more about the MBTA’s efforts towards environmental sustainability, take a look at our sustainability programs below.

Building a Better T

As part of our $8 billion, 5-year capital investment plan, we're renovating stations, modernizing fare collection systems, upgrading services for our buses, subways, and ferries, and improving the accessibility of the entire system.

Learn more

Sustainability Report

Sustainability Logo

To learn more about our efforts to build a more sustainable future, read the 2017 Sustainability Report.

Read the 2017 Sustainability Report

Share Your Ideas

If you have ideas or suggestions for making the MBTA more environmentally sustainable, please email environmental@mbta.com or call 617-222-4376.

Building a Better T

As part of our $8 billion, 5-year capital investment plan, we're renovating stations, modernizing fare collection systems, upgrading services for our buses, subways, and ferries, and improving the accessibility of the entire system.

Learn more

Sustainability Report

Sustainability Logo

To learn more about our efforts to build a more sustainable future, read the 2017 Sustainability Report.

Read the 2017 Sustainability Report

Share Your Ideas

If you have ideas or suggestions for making the MBTA more environmentally sustainable, please email environmental@mbta.com or call 617-222-4376.