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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.

Our plan for robust conservation of energy, water and materials is woven throughout Metro's sustainability strategic plan, Moving Beyond Sustainability .

How we are doing?

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.

Emissions and Pollution Control

By providing convenient, efficient and appealing transportation options, Metro moves people while reducing GHG emissions for each trip taken — reducing the negative impact that transportation has on the environment and public health. The agency maximizes this impact by aggressively working to lower operational GHG emissions and criteria air pollutant emissions at every source.

Metro programs have received recognition from Breath CA (2018), APA (2018) and AQMD (2015).

To learn more about how our programs reduce emissions and combat climate change, watch this short video:

Zero Emission Vehicles

Metro is committed to mitigating emissions from the agency's operations, which is why Metro is focusing on lifecycle emissions reductions that not only target tailpipe emissions but also regional and global emissions. Metro is moving its entire fleet, including buses and non-revenue vehicles, to zero emission vehicles, which will reduce GHG emissions as well as criteria air pollutant emissions. The agency is also working to ensure that the fuel used to power our fleets is the cleanest possible.

Metro is the first transit agency in the nation to integrate EV charging at its park-and-ride lots. The program is expanding to ensure our riders can confidently fuel their zero emissions vehicles. Metro's 2020 sustainability strategic plan, Moving Beyond Sustainability , outlines how the agency will accomplish this monumental task. For information on our progress so far, visit our reporting dashboard.

Transitioning to Cleaner Fuels

As of 2018, 85% of Metro's GHG emissions came from vehicle fuels. Metro turned to Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) as a cost-effective, low-carbon alternative to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). Derived from waste sources such as landfills, RNGs have proven cost-effective in reducing emissions and fuel costs. The directly operated bus fleet completed its full transition to RNG fueled sources in mid-2020.

Clean Truck Program

In April 2020, Metro approved $50 million to ease congestion and reduce pollution on the southern part of the I-710 between the ports and rail yards. Metro is helping develop and incentivize zero- or near-emission truck technology in the neighborhoods most impacted by air pollution.

Carbon Credits

Metro generates carbon credits through the use of low carbon transportation fuels such as electricity and renewable natural gas. Follow the above link for information about program solicitations.


Our transportation system is powered primarily by electricity and natural gas. The use and sourcing of that energy has ongoing impacts and longstanding implications for the environmental, fiscal and infrastructural resilience of our system. As a result, Metro is taking proactive measures to create a more resilient system. The agency is procuring and generating more renewable energy and implementing innovative energy conservation practices and technologies in building stations.

Our programs have been recognized by APA (2018), the CA Sustainability Coalition (2018), LADWP for demand curtailment (2016) and the CA Energy Efficiency Industry Council (2015).

Renewable Energy Generation

Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology is a critical component of our renewable energy strategy. We currently own and operate 2.6 megawatts (MW) of solar PV across eight facilities. However, we are working aggressively to increase renewable energy generation capacity through installations at multiple operating divisions. Together, these projects will help us achieve our 2013 goal of 7.5 MW of renewable energy generation — tripling current generation levels.

Facility Energy Management

Despite system growth and increasing demand, Metro is committed to reducing our energy consumption. We have identified many ways to achieve a 17% reduction from the 2013 business-as-usual scenario, including projects already underway:

  • 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.
  • Commissioning and Retro-Commissioning Program Development : 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.
  • Lighting Retrofits: Metro's Parking Management Department completed a lighting retrofit of four parking structures in 2018. Upgrades to light fixtures produced an annual savings of 1.2 million kWh. Metro is currently retrofitting the parking garage at Union State Gateway with new LED lamps to replace existing fixtures. This project is estimated to reduce energy consumption by 866,000 kWh annually.


Metro aims to reduce potable water use by 22% from the 2030 business-as-usual scenario and increase runoff infiltration and capture capacity for stormwater by 15% from 2020 baseline levels, as further detailed in the agency's 2020 sustainability strategic plan, Moving Beyond Sustainability .

Our program has been recognized by LA Sanitation One Water LA (2019), LA DWP (2018) and the US Green Building Council (2016).

For more information on what we've accomplished so far and where we are headed, visit our reporting dashboard or watch this short video.

Conserving Operation Water

Potable water consumption is expected to increase due to our Twenty-Eight by '28 Initiative, featuring transit and facility expansion projects. This system growth could increase overall water use. To mitigate anticipated increases in water consumption, Metro is implementing several strategies to reduce potable water consumption.

  • Bus Washes
    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. It is estimated that nozzle replacement will reduce water consumption by 20% at each bus wash. For more information on this effort, visit our reporting dashboard .
  • Recycled Water Use
    Nearly half of Metro's water consumption is used along Metro's right-of-way, largely for irrigation. In 2019, Metro replaced 41 conventional irrigation system controllers along the G Line (Orange) with "smart" weather-based, self-adjusting, irrigation controllers. Total water use along this alignment alone declined by 49 million gallons or nearly 44% between 2018 and 2019. 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, using the power of partnership to save every drop.
  • Reducing the Use of Potable Water
    Nearly half of Metro's water consumption is used along Metro's rights-of-way, largely for irrigation. In 2019, Metro replaced 41 conventional irrigation system controllers along the G Line (Orange) with "smart" weather-based, self-adjusting, irrigation controllers. Total water use along the alignment alone declined by 49 million gallons or by nearly 44% between 2018 and 2019. 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, using the power of partnership to save every drop.
  • 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.

Regional Water Investments

Intentional and responsible water consumption and resource management will contribute to community-wide resilience. To ensure regional water resources are not only conserved but replenished, Metro has implemented several projects, including:

  • Permeable Pavement (2019 ASCE Outstanding Sustainability Engineering Project Award Winner)
    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. In 2018, Metro replaced 40,000 square feet of asphalt at the Metro Division 4 Bus Facility in Downey with permeable pavement and a landscaped bioretention area. This new installation can capture and filter more than 300,000 gallons of water during a single rain event, allowing this water to safely infiltrate into the ground to replenish local groundwater and aquifer systems.
  • Stormwater and Industrial Wastewater
    Metro oversees compliance with state and regional stormwater and industrial wastewater permits for Metro properties. This includes oversight of Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPP), Water Pollution Control Plans (WPCP), Standard Urban Stormwater Mitigation Plans (SUSMP) and minimum BPM Plans as appropriate to the site. As part of the agency's 2020 sustainability strategic plan, Moving Beyond Sustainability , Metro will collaborate with other Municipal Separate Storm Water Sewer System (MS4) permittees on implementing more enhanced watershed management programs.


Eliminating waste starts by evaluating our choices. Metro always looks for new ways to get the most out of the materials we use. We're working to reduce, reuse and recycle as we support the movement to zero waste and a circular economy.

Waste Disposal Reduction

As the system expands, the quantity of waste generated is increasing. However, recycling is increasing at a higher rate than landfill waste generation. Metro is undertaking several strategies to better understand our waste streams, minimize waste generation and maximize diversion from landfill.

As part of the agency's 2020 sustainability strategic plan, Moving Beyond Sustainability , we are looking to further reduce annual operational solid waste and increase landfill diversion.

For more information on our progress, visit our reporting dashboard.

  • 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. This study continues to provide Metro with valuable information that informs new programs and supports the development of future solid waste reduction and recycling targets. It also gives the agency metrics with which to track compliance with emerging recycling and organic waste regulations.
  • Pallet Return Program:
    Metro's Central Maintenance Facility (CMF) relies on wooden pallets to distribute materials and supplies to support operations at its facilities across LA County. In 2019, Metro's Pallet Return Program prevented approximately 3,900 tons of wood waste from going to landfills, substantially reducing the GHG emissions associated with organic waste disposal. Reducing waste begins with throwing less away, but it also requires considering material lifecycle and sustainability goals in agency-wide procurement decisions. The Pallet Return Program is not only a waste prevention measure, but it also one of Metro's many sustainable procurement initiatives.

Repurposing Waste

Metro is looking for ways to divert waste from landfill by extending the life of existing materials, reusing or repurposing. Current efforts include:

  • Banners-to-Bags (2016):
    Advertising banners that hung 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.
  • 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.

EMS - Our Process

Environmental Management System

The Environmental Management System (EMS) creates a framework for implementing best practices that help ensure compliance with federal, state and local environmental regulations as well as agency sustainability goals and policies. Using the ISO 14001:2015 framework of Plan-Do-Check-Act, the EMS serves as a system for internal and external stakeholders to help us continually measure and improve our environment and sustainability efforts. As of 2019, the Metro EMS covers 19 operational facilities, bus and rail divisions and recently introduced construction as part of its scope.

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 (2019 U.S. Green Building Council — Los Angeles Award Winner)

Guiding policies for our process include: