Innovative Clean Transit
CARB’s heavy-duty vehicle legacy programs have been focused on reducing combustion emissions. New heavy-duty zero-emission vehicle programs are complementary to these programs and focus on a long-term goal of full transition of the heavy-duty transportation sector to zero-emission technologies. They are part of California’s holistic plan to address challenging mandates and needs for public health protection, and to meet federal air quality standards and climate protection goals. The Innovative Clean Transit Regulation is the first of its kind to support these programs. It was adopted in December 2018 to replace the Fleet Rule for Transit Agencies. The regulation requires all public transit agencies to gradually transition to a 100-percent zero-emission bus fleet and encourages them to provide innovative first and last-mile connectivity and improved mobility for transit riders. This regulation also provides various exemptions and compliance options to provide safeguards and flexibility for transit agencies through this transition.
California needs to promote transformative innovation in the transportation sector, and support demand for increasingly lower-carbon intensity fuels to achieve our mid-and long-term greenhouse gas (GHG) targets, protect public health and address environmental impacts of climate change. California also needs to continue to reduce NOx and other criteria pollutants to meet federally enforceable State Implementation Plan commitments.
To achieve the overall air quality and climate protection goals, California needs a holistic approach that includes comprehensive and complementary measures, such as cleaner grid and combining emerging technologies. The transportation sector is responsible for about 40 percent GHG emissions, 80 percent of NOx emissions, and 90 percent of diesel particulate matter emissions in California. Broadly implementing zero-emission technologies is necessary to effectively address these multiple intertwined and complicated air quality and climate protection issues. The Innovative Clean Transit (ICT) regulation is a critical first step in transitioning California’s heavy-duty fleet to zero-emission.
The ICT regulation is also aligned with other State policies, including, the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Program (SB 375), and SB 350. SB 375 creates initiatives for increased development of transit-oriented communities, better-connected transportation, and active transportation. SB 350 provides an opportunity of transportation electrification including wide use of zero-emission buses. Under SB 350 the California Public Utilities Commission is collaborating with California Air Resources Board and California Energy Commission to implement requirements set forth by SB 350 to support widespread transportation electrification.
Through the deployment of zero-emission technologies, the ICT regulation will provide significant benefits across the state, including:
- Reduce NOx and GHG emissions for all Californians, especially transit-dependent and disadvantage communities. The majority of these benefits will be in the State’s most populated and impacted areas where transit buses are most prevalent
- Increase penetration of the first wave of zero-emission heavy-duty technologies into applications that are well suited to their use to further achieve emission reduction benefits
- Save energy and reduce dependency on petroleum and other fossil fuels
- Expand zero-emission vehicle industry to bring high quality green jobs to local communities and trained workforce to California
- Provide other societal benefits by encouraging improved mobility and connectivity with zero-emission transportation modes and reduced growth in light-duty vehicle miles traveled
The goal of this program is to continue its partnership with transit agencies to maximize these benefits, while providing flexibility and sufficient time for transit agencies to address potential challenges and utilize available funds. This regulation strives to not just maintain, but enhance transit service through increased mobility options and has built in technological and financial safeguards to ensure transit service or fares are not adversely impacted by the transition. Transit agencies have been pioneers in adopting advanced technologies in the past and several of them have been successfully operating zero-emission buses for over the past two decades as part of their normal daily operations. They have played, and will continue to play, important roles in helping California meet air quality standards and GHG emissions reduction goals by deploying the cleanest technologies.