Sustainability Today for a Better Tomorrow

The word “sustainability” means different things to different people. At its core, the term means keeping things manageable so they can continue. The American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the public transportation advocacy organization of which RTD is a member, views sustainability as the means of making communities livable and thriving. APTA believes sustainability is accomplished by finding the balance between environment, economy, and social aspects.

For this reason, APTA believes that public transit is one of the most sustainable forms of transportation. It connects people by getting them to and from work which positively benefits the economy and riders. Public transportation also reduces domestic carbon emissions by 37 million metric tons each year—this is the same as removing nearly 8 million passenger vehicles off the road. At RTD, we adopt APTA’s definition of “sustainability” and strive to do even more to have a positive impact on the environment.

We reuse, recycle, reduce, and repurpose where we can in day-to-day operations and in construction activities. This was initially a goal for our FasTracks project, but we’ve expanded it to other areas of our organization. Some of our notable sustainability achievements include:

  • Rehabilitating the existing buildings on the “711” property (treasury, call center, and future N Line operations facility) instead of demolishing and starting new 
  • Replacing the Free MallRide fleet with quieter, zero-emission buses
  • Utilizing native plants and smart irrigation controllers for landscaping at park-n-rides
  • Diverting 48% of construction waste and 99% of metals from landfills when developing the Commuter Rail Maintenance Facility
  • Installing solar panels at the East Metro facility that have an ongoing rebate of more than $67,000
  • Earning LEED Gold certification for the renovation of Union Station which included implementing energy measures that were 25% more efficient in the building’s thermal envelope prior to renovation
  • Replacing lighting at park-n-rides with LEDs which use less energy and are more luminescent
  • Making smart design and material choices for the Civic Center renovation which garnered over $27,000 in rebates and recognition by the Downtown Denver Partnership.

Every Earth Day, April 22, we use this time to think about what we can do to have a better impact on the environment. RTD’s Sustainability Committee, which consists of members from our Capital Programs and Planning Departments, meets each month to identify what more can be done to improve quality of life, protect the natural and built environments, strengthen the economy, and continue to be good financial stewards. We believe in doing right by our community. Follow us on LinkedIn to track our progress and learn more about RTD’s sustainability efforts in general.

RTD's Sustainability Committee features participants from Capital Programs and Planning.