RTD celebrates Earth Day

Coloradans wake up every day to see towering mountains, rolling plains, dense forests, ice cold streams, massive mesas and giant canyons scattered across the landscape. Coloradans live for the outdoors. It is the driving force behind the state’s economy and the health of its residents. That is why Earth Day means so much to the people of Colorado.  

Earth Day, first celebrated in 1970, is a day of awareness and a call to action against climate change, so that future generations can thrive and enjoy the planet. Public transportation plays a critical role in sustainability and ensuring there is a future to enjoy.  

In 2020, RTD published a Quality of Life and Sustainability Report, a multiyear monitoring program that began in 2006. The report stated that while air quality had significantly improved over the past 40 years, the Environmental Protection Agency classified the Denver metro region as a “Serious” nonattainment area for ozone. The report also noted that transportation emissions are a major source of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides, which can lead to poor health outcomes.  

RTD continues to promote the benefits of public transit, while developing and implementing measures to reduce the need for fossil fuels. Protecting the planet is so important to RTD that it is written in the agency's strategic priority of Community Value, which states that “RTD strives to be a strong community partner, providing value to customers as well as to the broader Denver metro region while sustaining planet Earth.”  

All of RTD’s rail services run on electricity. On the bus side, the buses that operate on the 16th Street Mall are 100% battery powered, meaning that not a drop of gasoline is used to power the vehicles. RTD is one of the nation’s leaders in the number of electric vehicles (EV) currently in use. The agency has 17 new zero-emission buses arriving later this year for use in fixed-route service. 

That is just the start of RTD’s initiatives to create a better planet. In 2019, RTD partnered with Panasonic, Transdev and EasyMile to test an autonomous electric vehicle shuttle as a first- and last-mile solution It was the first deployment of an autonomous vehicle operating in mixed traffic on a public roadway in the state of Colorado, and one of the first attempts in the United States.  

While it is critical to find solutions to climate change, it is also important to make easier connections to the outdoors and nature. RTD has a number of bus routes and rail lines that service parks, hiking trails, bike parks, skate parks, climbing and bouldering spots, and even Eldora Mountain Resort.  

RTD continues to campaign for a better future for the planet and for humanity by continuing to explore alternatives to traditional fossil fuels, and promoting the benefits of public transit over single-occupancy vehicles.