Public Transit is Going Green Around the Globe

You might be surprised at some of the solutions

Electric bus
An electric bus in Hyderabad.
LoveofZ, CC BY-SA 4.0

Electric vehicles are a big deal — and a growing presence — in countries around the world. As governments and individuals alike explore steps they can take to reducing emissions and addressing climate change, the idea of making changes to personal vehicles is on the table for many. But a gas-powered car or truck are far from the only vehicles people use to get from place to place, and a growing movement has sought to increase the number of zero-emissions vehicles used for public transit as well.

An article published earlier this year in the magazine Mass Transit addressed transit buses in the United States. Specifically, it cited a recent study by the Center for Transportation and the Environment that put the cost of converting the nation’s transit buses to zero-emission vehicles at between $56.22 billion and $88.91 billion.

Imagine the number of transit buses in the United States affected by this — and then remember that that’s only part of the larger global picture. Writing at The New York Times, Somini Sengupta took an even broader perspective, exploring ways that government agencies and private companies are implementing electric vehicles in places ranging from commuter ferries on the North Sea to cable cars in Colombia.

Most intriguingly, the article points out that some of the electric vehicle efforts are less about implementing new technology than revisiting older systems — including the electric tram system used in Berlin, which recently turned 140. Sometimes, the most forward-thinking solutions to the problems of tomorrow can involve taking a historical view.

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