Metro is dedicated to the sustainability of LA County’s people, environment, and economy.
Our commitment means we plan, partner, design, build, operate and maintain transit infrastructure to meet our current needs without compromising the future needs of LA. We continually integrate the principles of sustainability in all aspects of decision making and execution. This includes seeking out and implementing innovative solutions to improve air quality, protect natural resources, reduce waste and create connected communities.
Our sustainability commitment is reflected in Metro’s Sustainability Mission and Vision statements, which support the Agency’s Metro Vision 2028 Strategic Plan :
We will provide leadership in sustainability within the LA region without compromising our core mission of moving people efficiently and effectively.
We will be the leader in maximizing sustainability efforts and its benefits to LA County's people, finances and environment.
See below for a timeline of key sustainability program milestones and accomplishments:
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Planning for Sustainability
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Metro is transforming LA County through a regional commitment to environmental sustainably and climate-safe infrastructure. Metro infrastructure and assets are planned and designed with changes to climate and stewardship of natural resources in mind.
Planning for sustainability includes coordination and support between the environmental, planning and engineering departments through many phases of project development including processes related to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), resulting in project-specific Environmental Impact Reports (EIR), Environmental Impact Studies (EIS) and exceptions to these requirements. For access to these and related documents, contact the Metro Library .
Countywide Sustainability Planning Policy:
In 2012, Metro policy demonstrates a continued commitment to sustainability as a core business value and as a strategy for enhancing the quality, efficiency and value of the transportation system through integration of sustainability in planning functions, and development of partnerships.
Energy and Sustainability Policy:
In 2007, Metro policy established policy to control energy consumption and embrace energy efficiency, energy conservation, and sustainability.
In 2009, Metro established an on-going commitment to provide multi-modal public transit services that greatly improve the quality of the environment in the communities it serves; and its commitment to planning and constructing projects, operating and maintaining facilities and vehicles, and procuring products and services in a manner that protects human health and the environment. This policy provides guidance in committing to the use of the ISO 14001:2004 standard as a sustainability management tool.
Renewable Energy Policy:
In 2011, Metro policy established 33% of facility-wide energy use would be powered by renewable energy by 2020. This policy has driven action and as of 2017 Metro reached 30% of its goal. Most of Metro’s new major facilities are designed to include solar generation including the El Monte Transit Terminal (89kW), Division 13 (271 kW) and Location 64.
Moving Beyond Sustainability (2020):
Metro establishes agency-wide sustainability goals, targets and strategies for the next 10 years. This update will be a significant expansion to the 2008 Metro Sustainability Implementation Plan (MSIP). The Plan will include energy, water, emissions and pollution control, materials and construction/operations, climate adaptation and resiliency, livable neighborhoods, equity, and economic and workforce development goals. The revised plan is expected in 2020.
Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (2019):
The 2019 CAAP outlines how Metro is both fighting climate change and preparing for a changing climate.
Energy Conservation and Management Plan:
In 2011, the Metro Board adopted this plan to guide energy use in a cost-effective and efficient manner.
Active Transportation Strategic Plan (ATSP):
Adopted May 26, 2016, ATSP is Metro's countywide effort to identify strategies to increase walking, bicycling and transit use in Los Angeles County. The ATSP proposes a regional network of active transportation facilities, including shared-use paths and on-street bikeways.
First Last Mile Strategic Plan:
identifies how Metro and its partners can improve access and connections to public transit. The goal is to better coordinate infrastructure investments in station areas to extend the reach of transit, and ultimately increase ridership.
Orange Line Corridor Implementation Plan:
In 2012, the Metro Board identified a range of improvements to the Orange Line and the fourteen station areas on its original alignment that will increase transit use for commuters and discretionary riders, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and advance Metro’s sustainable development principles.
Sustainable Rail Plan:
In 2013, a combination of qualitative and quantitative discussions regarding the feasibility, cost and energy reduction potential of various strategies to enhance the sustainability of Metro’s rail system.
Water Action Plan (2010):
Metro Board adopted the Water Action Plan to better understand the relationship between current practices, equipment and water use. This plan is currently being updated.
Metro Sustainability Program:
The Sustainability Program guides the design and construction of world-class projects by incorporating sustainable elements and CALGreen requirements into the design and construction process for Metro capital projects.
Metro builds to the highest sustainability standards with all projects larger than 10,000 square feet designed to LEED silver or higher . The following Metro projects have obtained Envision Platinum Certification: Expo Line, Section II and Purple Line Extension, Section 1 .
Metro plans and designs infrastructure and assets with changes to climate and stewardship of natural resources in mind. Metro is both fighting climate change and preparing for a changing climate with resources in the areas of mitigation and resiliency.
In order to reduce Metro’s carbon footprint and ensure that bus and rail services operate consistently and reliably, Metro looks for ways to lower greenhouse gas emissions and prepare the Agency and our riders for severe weather events and potential changes to local climate. The climate program currently addresses two key avenues for climate change response: climate mitigation and resiliency.
A comprehensive, integrated transportation network with infrastructure and design that allow safe and convenient travel along and across streets for all users, including pedestrians, public transit riders and bicyclists. Over 700 jurisdictions throughout the United States have adopted Complete Streets policies.
- Complete Streets Policy
- Complete Streets Policy Requirements
- Policy Development and Implementation Resources
- Deadline Update (2016)
- Slow Speed Network Strategic Plan for The South Bay (2017)
The incorporation of design elements aimed to reduce the construction-related and long-term environmental impacts of a project, including green street features, native or drought-tolerant landscaping and energy-efficient lighting. Training on the sustainable design plan and requirements for implementation and reporting are offered through Metro's Planning Department.
Response to a Metro Board directive, the Sustainability Council supports Metro’s sustainability program by advising and providing recommendations on matters such as policies, operations, construction, and maintenance processes that further Metro’s goal of delivering a sustainable transit system to LA County.
The Council is composed of 30 voting members representing a range of sectors and stakeholder groups with expertise in sustainability and transportation. [more]
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Metro is committed to building climate-safe infrastructure while minimizing negative impacts to the environment during the construction process.
Metro integrates innovative sustainability strategies throughout project planning, design and construction to mitigate the negative impacts of our capital program on the environment.
Energy Efficient Buildings:
Metro has committed to build all new buildings over 10,000 square feet to LEED Silver standard or higher.
Metro’s facilities play a critical role in delivering safe and reliable transit services across LA County. Our building commissioning process ensures new facilities are equipped for this task by embedding sustainability and performance considerations into every phase of a project, from design through operations.
To date, eleven buildings have been certified to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver or higher including Metro headquarters and several transportation and maintenance buildings.
The following Metro facilities have achieved recognition as LEED silver or better:
|Facility||Certification||Level||Year / Status|
|Division 7 Campus||EBOM||Silver||2015|
|Division 10 Campus||EBOM||Silver||2014|
|Division 3 Maintenance Annex||NC||Gold||2010|
|Union Station Gateway||EBOM||Gold||2010|
|El Monte Station||NC||Gold||2009|
|Division 3 Maintenance Building||NC||Certified||2008|
|Division 9 Transportation Building||NC||Gold||2008|
|CMF Building 6||NC||Gold||2007|
The following projects are in the process of achieving LEED certification:
|Facility||Certification||Level||Year / Status|
|Location 64||NC||Silver||2019 – under construction|
|Division 16 Southwest Yard||NC||TBD||2019 – under construction|
|Emergency Security Operations Center (ESOC)||NC||TBD||In design|
|Airport Metro Connetor 96 th Street Station||NC||Silver||In design|
|Willowbrook / Rosa Parks Station – Security hub||NC||TBD||2020 – under construction|
|Willowbrook / Rosa Parks Station – Bike hub||NC||TBD||2020 – under construction|
Envision: Expo Line, Section II and Purple Line Extension, Section 1 are the first Metro projects to achieve Envision certification. With the focus on planning and process from design stage through operations and maintenance, there is much in this system that helps Metro consider the best sustainability practices throughout the life of our projects. Learn more about Envision and take classes offered here at Metro.
ECSD provides site remediation support for Metro-owned properties including:
- Groundwater Contamination/Remediation
- Soil Remediation/Removal
- Lead/Asbestos Analysis and Abatement
Green Construction Policy:
Metro is committed to using greener, less polluting construction equipment and vehicles, and will implement best practices to reduce harmful emissions in all construction projects performed on Metro properties and rights-of-way. Data collected through this program are reported to the Metro Board annually.
Starting in 2018, Metro began requiring the use of renewable diesel – a cleaner and more sustainable fuel – on all capital construction projects.
Contractor's Sustainability Plan Guidance Manual:
In 2018, ECSD created a new reference document to assist contractors in documenting how they are fulfilling their compliance obligations associated with CalGreen. The Sustainability Plan program also collects evidence to highlight areas where contractors bringing the best innovative, sustainable practices to Metro projects.
Metro's Environmental Construction Awareness (MECA) Project:
In 2018, ECSD launched a new website of resources and information to assist SBE/DBE contractors in developing robust project proposals that meet environmental requirements and expectations. MECA ensures that contractors understand the importance of sustainability from project design through construction.
In 2009, Metro established an on-going commitment to provide multi-modal public transit services that greatly improve the quality of the environment in the communities it serves; and its commitment to planning and constructing projects, operating and maintaining facilities and vehicles, and procuring products and services in a manner that protects human health and the environment.
Green Construction Policy:
In 2011, Metro provided requirements for 1) identifying and mitigating air emission impacts on human health, environment, and climate of on-road and off-road construction equipment and generators used in our construction and development activities; 2) implementing appropriate Best Management Practices (BMPs) to complement equipment mitigations; and 3) implementing strategies to ensure compliance with this policy.
Environmental Liabilities Assessment and Reporting Program:
In 2009, policy established a coordinated and integrated framework for determining Metro’s known and potential environmental liabilities. The reporting protocol under this program ensures Metro’s continued compliance with financial reporting standards, reduces current environmental liabilities and reduces the probability of similar liabilities occurring in the future.
Construction and Demolition Debris Recycling and Reuse Policy:
In 2007, Metro committed to implement consistent criteria and procedures on the use of recyclable and recycled products and materials on capital projects.
Preserving and Protecting the Past
While Metro builds the next LA, we also believe in conserving and preserving the past and LA’s unique natural ecosystem.
Featured Projects and Programs
See Metro’s featured projects and programs .
Resources and Tools
Metro has developed resources and tools to provide our contracting community technical assistance and training on our building program requirements.
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Conserving Resources in Operations
Metro integrates sustainability and environmentally-friendly practices, such as emissions and water use reductions, into the operations and maintenance of facilities and transportation systems. Lessons learned from operations and maintenance inform the planning, designing and building of future projects.
Metro’s Sustainability Indicators were derived from the Recommended Practice for Qualifying and Reporting Transit Sustainability metrics, prepared by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Standards for Metrics Working Group. During this era of expansion, the continued adoption of best practices has enabled positive trending across several performance areas. See Metro's new sustainability reporting dashboard.
Download the Energy and Resource Report Data Set.
Air quality is directly correlated to public health. Every effort we make in operations to minimize impacts to or improve air quality take us one step closer to creating a more sustainable LA. The Motion Endorsing GHG Reduction Targets guides program prioritization and decision-making. Some air quality initiatives include:
Electric Vehicle Program:
Metro is the first transit agency in the nation to integrate EV charging stations at its park-and-ride lots and the program is expanding. Metro is also moving its non-revenue fleet to electric vehicles . Non-revenue fleet vehicles used for field operations are being upgraded to battery electric, hybrid and cleaner diesel vehicles.
Photovoltaic (PV) projects:
Metro is committed to generating clean energy to build resilient energy systems. Current facilities with PV panels include SIX (6) bus and rail divisions and the El Monte Station. Plans are in development for four (4) additional divisions.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Toxic Air Emissions Reduction
Metro stakeholders track GHG and toxic air emissions, develop and implement innovative technologies, and ensure equipment compliance with existing regulations while generating carbon credits for future carbon market transactions.
Metro expects there to be more high heat days and more severe fires and storms in the future. These events will impact transportation if plans are not put in place now. The 2019 Climate Adaptation Action Plan (CAAP) and Resiliency Indicator Framework (2015) guide Metro’s work in mitigation, adaptation and resiliency. The Framework is currently being revised.
Metro’s long-term goal is to manage overhead costs by controlling energy pricing using a variety of options, including but not limited to Community Choice Aggregates (CCA), Power Purchase Agreements (PPA), microgrids, and renewables.
Metro is looking at all opportunities to control costs and protect assets through a variety of programs:
- Energy Costs – Controlling short-term energy rates driven by demand peaks
- Cybersecurity – Hardening Metro’s security system and assets by controlling access points during power interruptions
- Demand-Side Response (DSR) - Modifying demand for energy through various methods such as financial incentives and behavioral change
- Distributed Energy Resources (DER) - Decentralizing energy sources including the use of renewable sources to generate and store electricity, while decarbonizing the environment
- Operational Continuity - Maintaining or enhancing operational effectiveness while reducing total force energy demand
- Business Continuity - Providing safe and reliable service to the community at all times
- Climate Change – Providing solutions that reduce Metro’s carbon footprint
- Transactive Energy – Controlling techniques used to manage the flow or exchange of energy within an existing electric power system in regard to economic and market based standard values of energy
- Energy Conservation – Preventing the wasteful use of energy, especially in order to ensure its continuing availability
Renewable Natural Gas (RNG)
In August 2017, Metro began to pilot the use of renewable natural gas, a low-carbon alternative to traditional natural gas, for its bus fleet of over 2,200 CNG buses. Metro conducts periodic solicitations for the sale of carbon credits including Low Carbon Fuel Standard (“LCFS”) credits.
This program is in support of Metro’s Motion Endorsing GHG Reduction Targets and Biomethane Implementation Plan . RNG comes from waste sources such as landfills and dairy farms and can be delivered directly to Metro’s bus facilities using utility pipelines, which means no modifications to fueling infrastructure or vehicles.
Metro generates carbon credits through the use of low carbon transportation fuels such as electricity and renewable natural gas. Follow this link for information about program solicitations.
Building Management System (BMS) Assessment
Metro is assessing the BMS in each of its operating Divisions to improve system performance, efficiency and provide consistent standards, specifications, guidelines and practices.
Metro is developing commissioning policies and guidelines to standardize our project commissioning requirements and provide a “best practices” level of commissioning authority and oversight to improve system efficiency and performance.
Metro completed the installation and commissioning of an integrated lighting control system at a rail maintenance facility. The resulting measured energy savings are over 975,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year.
Next, Metro is designing a full-building lighting retrofit for Gateway headquarters building, which could reduce over 2,000,000 kWh of electricity use per year and save over $400,000 per year in energy and maintenance costs.
Metro has been on the forefront of water reduction efforts for more than a decade. The Water Action Plan and Water Use and Conservation Policy guide Metro efforts. Metro aims to reduce water use by 20% below 1990 levels. We're looking to save every drop. The initiatives Metro is implementing to conserve water include:
ECSD has piloted adjustments to bus wash nozzles and wash schedules at Divisions 7, 9 and 15, looking for ways to conserve water while maintaining cleanliness standards.
Dust Collection System Project:
Replacing the existing air scrubber system that uses approximately 10,000 gallons of water per day. The new system will improve air quality for workers.
Reducing the use of potable water:
Metro is installing connections to recycled water (purple pipes) where made available by LA DWP. This includes a new project in the San Fernando Valley along the Orange Line. Metro is also using recycled water systems at facility steam bays and channeling reclaimed water back into the main water line in partnership with LA DWP and Southern California Edison.
Native plant and drought tolerant plant landscaping:
Metro is installing drip irrigation systems to reduce water loss due to evaporation, selecting plants that reduce the need for irrigation, installing sub-meters to better understand where water can be conserved, and finding alternatives to turf.
Permeable pavement (2014):
Metro received a Proposition 84 grant from the State Water Resources Control Board to install permeable concrete at Division 4 to improve water quality, flood control and ecosystem protection while reducing polluted runoff. This pilot test site will determine the feasibility of more permeable pavement across Metro locations.
Stormwater and Industrial Wastewater:
Metro oversee the development of Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPP) and, as required, Standard Urban Stormwater Mitigation Plans (SUSMP) for facilities, construction sites, storage areas, and all Metro properties. We prepare and maintain all stormwater and industrial wastewater permits agency-wide.
Metro is working to reduce and divert waste across our operations. Some current initiatives include:
Master Plan for Solid Waste Reduction and Reuse (2016)
Building on the Construction and Demolition Debris Recycling & Reuse Policy (2007), initial efforts have focused on compliance with disposal and recycling regulations, hazardous waste and used oil management. New focus areas include labeling and storage of empty containers, development of a waste management hierarchy, developing an organics management program, and widening the scope of training for all employees on all shifts.
Metro has begun the process to re-invent how we are procuring for goods and services. This means thinking about every product we use and how to reduce our impact on the environment. For example:
Replacing R22 Refrigerant:
Partnering with DuPont, Metro mechanics tested new, lower CFC refrigerant, preserving our ozone layer, keeping our air cleaner, and improving maintenance practices on air conditioning units. This pilot is now expanding use across Agency facilities.
Diverting Waste from Landfills
Metro is expanding efforts to understand waste streams and pilot projects to effect change. See the Annual Sustainability Reporting for information on these and additional highlighted projects:
Waste Characterization Study (2017):
With the establishment of a solid waste baseline in 2017, Metro renewed its focus on increasing diversion from landfills while simultaneously decreasing the generation of waste through prevention and sustainable procurement efforts. In 2018, Metro increased total tons of diverted waste by 71%. The disposal of solid waste in landfills is widely recognized as a significant source of GHG emissions, so these initiatives have a positive impact on regional GHG emissions reductions.
Pallet Return Program:
Metro’s Central Maintenance Facility (CMF) heavy-duty pallets last nearly five times as long as their standard wooden counterparts, preventing approximately 2,100 tons of wood waste from going to landfills each year.
Advertising banners that hang outside buildings no longer go to the landfill when damaged or are no longer needed. They are turned into reusable shopping bags for distribution at local events.
Desk-side Recycling (2009):
Program increases the agency’s recycling efforts. In 2011, 41% of solid waste was diverted to recycling.
Oil Filter Crushers Pilot:
Condensing used oil filters before disposal means more filters can fit into a hazardous waste drum, reducing disposal costs. Use of crushers are being expanded Agency-wide.
Environmental Management System
A set of methods used to achieve and maintain environmental compliance. Launched at operating Divisions in 2009, EMS expanded to Capital projects (Crenshaw-LAX) in 2016 and now includes PLE1 and Regional Connector. Metro’s EMS is certified to the ISO 14001:2015 standard. EMS utilizes the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle to identify and reduce risks, including periodic audits and a performance management review.
Environmental Training Institute (ETI)
Metro is investing in the future of the LA region, which starts with investing in our greatest asset – people. ETI offers environmental and sustainability-focused trainings designed to build support for sustainability initiatives, ensure regulatory compliance and foster an agency-wide culture of sustainability. Metro is driving a cultural revolution and transforming our employees into agents of change.
Training is provided to employees in the following topics reflecting regulations and Agency goals:
- Stormwater and Industrial Wastewater
- Hazardous Waste and Universal Waste
- Aboveground and Underground Tanks (AST/UST)
- Electric Vehicles
- Photovoltaic (PV) system monitoring and maintenance
- Low Impact Development (LID) strategies
- Other, including certification classes within Growing a Greener Workforce
Guiding policies for our process include:
Metro is committed to innovation:
Research to enhance and protect the environment and education for Metro and the people within LA County. Metro continuously examines our systems and infrastructure in order to recover from disturbances, to tolerate or adapt to a changing climate.
Metro’s Energy Resiliency is focused on investing in infrastructure that reduces outage duration, cost and impact on critical services. Metro’s Energy Resilience vision is to continue implementing new technologies that increase system awareness and automation, allow for rapid islanding and hardening cyber-security against new threats.
Metro is reducing emissions, cleaning the air and improving urban areas across internal departments and in coordination with our contractors, local and state jurisdictions. This includes being the hub of information and resources on environmental sustainability so we can all have the tools to innovate.
Setting the course:
In February, 2016, the Metro Board passed Motion 57 , committing Metro to further goals to reduce emissions, clean the air and improve urban areas. This includes reporting efforts to conserve water , create green infrastructure , first and last mile connections to Metro’s transit system, and strategies to better deploy technology and promote Green jobs . Metro staff provided an update in October 2016 .
Metro is working with organizations like the American Society of Civil Engineers on sustainable infrastructure standards development, reinventing the engineering process, increasing capacity and policy / advocacy.
Upcycling Pilot (2020):
Metro is inviting manufacturing and design innovators to help us identify materials in our current waste stream that could be repurposed or upcycled as innovative, cost effective solutions that will help us reduce waste to landfill.
A Focus on Renewable energy:
Metro is on pace to surpass its goal of 33% renewable energy consumption by 2020. In 2018, 31% of Metro’s electricity came from renewable energy sources, including its own solar PV systems. These strategies actively reduce GHG emissions, 95% of which are derived from energy use.
Metro generates carbon credits through the use of low carbon transportation fuels such as electricity and renewable natural gas. Periodically, Metro conducts solicitations for the sale of these carbon credits.
Growing a Greener Workforce:
Metro develops environmental and sustainability training for Metro employees and our community to deepen our knowledge about water and energy conservation, waste reduction and improving air quality through planning, building and operations decision making. GGW is training employees across a wide range of job classifications in over 80 departments and has reached over 340 community members, including Metro’s small business partners.