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MBTA Vehicle Efficiency

More from Sustainability

Learn more about sustainability programs at the MBTA.

The vehicles used by the MBTA can significantly impact the environment, both through the types of energy they use and the amount of energy needed to power them. Our newer vehicles have reduced the carbon footprint of our fleets as a whole.


Regenerative Braking

Regenerative braking captures the energy expended by trains as they slow down and reuses it. 

In its first pilot, regenerative braking at Airport Station on the Blue Line saved 250,000 kWh in 1 year.

Red and Orange Line

Arriving in 2019, a new fleet of Red and Orange line trains will have a number of energy-saving features, including:

  • Regenerative braking
  • LED lighting
  • Efficient HVAC systems
  • Durable, sustainable body and mechanical components

Green Line

Overhauls to Green Line trains in 2018 will update the lighting and braking systems. All materials removed from the vehicles will be disposed of responsibly. 


All new MBTA buses are equipped with LED lights and a revised seat layout to conserve energy and increase passenger capacity.

Hybrid Buses

60-foot diesel-electric hybrid buses have been used on the Silver Line since 2010. The Silver Line alternates between electric travel in underground tunnels and diesel engine operation on roadways.

As of the end of 2017, more than 200 40-foot diesel-hybrid buses have been put into operation in the MBTA bus fleet.

Hybrid buses use 44% less fuel than traditional diesel buses, which is estimated to save more than 800,000 gallons of fuel annually.

Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Buses

Fuel-cell buses run on hydrogen and produce zero harmful emissions. 

Recently, the FTA sponsored a National Fuel Cell Bus Program to support public transit agencies’ development of fuel cell technology for bus fleets. The MBTA has worked with Nuvera to develop buses for our fleet.

The first fuel cell bus went into service in 2016, and a hydrogen fuel station was installed at the Charlestown garage.