Case Study 13: Alternative Fuel at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

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Case Study 13: Alternative Fuel at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) is working to reduce their environmental footprint by reducing the emissions on many of their public transportation and maintenance vehicles. A wide variety of energy-efficient vehicles are currently in use with further improvements being made on a yearly basis.

The MBTA is the largest alternative fuel user in Massachusetts.

In September 2007, the MBTA received an award for being the “Largest Alternative Fuel User in Massachusetts” at the AltWheels festival in Boston, mainly due to its fleet of 360 buses that run on natural gas. The MBTA bus fleet consists of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Emission Control Diesel (ECD), and all electric buses. Additionally, the authority possesses an ECD bus fleet that is currently comprised of 303 vehicles, with two hundred more in production, and an all electric fleet of twenty-seven vehicles that run on overhead electric catenary wires, resulting in zero tailpipe emissions.

MBTA Alternative Fuel Vehicles

AFV Category

Number Owned

Compressed Natural Gas Buses


Emission Control Diesel Buses


Electric Buses


Dual Mode Articulated Buses


Gas Electric Hybrid Support Vehicles


Tier 0 Compliant Locomotives


Tier 2 Compliant Locomotives


Tier 2 Compliant Ferries

The MBTA is working to improve Boston’s air quality even further. Vehicles in their operations/maintenance fleet are being converted to all hybrid vehicles, with the delivery of twenty-eight 2007 Ford Escape hybrids. They are also looking into the procurement of diesel electric hybrid buses and are in the process of purchasing 28 “Tier 2 Compliant” locomotives. The new locomotives are the most environmentally friendly locomotives currently available.

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