Transit Emissions Dashboard

bus and traffic on the highway

About the Dashboard

The Colorado Department of Transportation’s interactive Transit Emission Dashboard tracks and quantifies greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted by transit vehicles in the State of Colorado. This user-friendly dashboard displays emission reductions associated with replacing single occupancy vehicle trips with transit trips, along with the progression from internal combustion buses to zero emission buses.

The dashboard serves as visual accountability for emission reduction goals set forth by Colorado HB19-1261: Climate Action Plan to Reduce Pollution. The dashboard tracks the state’s path toward a fully zero emission transit fleet.

Transit Emissions Dashboard

The Transit Emissions Dashboard quantifies the year-over-year reductions in GHG emissions associated with public transit vehicles and serves as one of many performance metrics to aid CDOT in quantifying GHG emission reductions from the transportation sector and track progress towards House Bill 19-1261 emission reduction goals. Consistent with HB 19-1261, statewide greenhouse gas emissions will include “carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, nitrogen trifluoride, and sulfur hexafluoride, expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent.”

Disclaimer: The Transit Emissions Dashboard is updated annually.

Transit Emissions Dashboard

Emission Goals

The dashboard seeks to track progress in the transformation of Colorado’s transit fleet to zero emission vehicles as well as the replacement of SOV trips with transit trips. CDOT is committed to reducing emissions that are created in the state’s transit system. HB19-1261 has set forth statewide GHG emission reduction goals of:

  • 26% by 2025
  • 50% by 2030
  • 90% by 2050 (compared to a 2005 baseline)

CDOT has received funding from the Volkswagen Clean Air Act Settlement to aid in the electrification of vehicles in the United States and also applies state and federal grant resources to this effort. The goals set forth by HB19-1261, and funding from the Volkswagen Clean Air Act Settlement, are catalysts in the conversion of statewide transit fleets to zero emission vehicles (ZEVs). 

Signed by Governor Jared Polis in 2021, the Colorado SB21-260: “Sustainability of the Transportation System” supports the statewide transition to zero emission transit vehicles with the creation of a Public Transit Enterprise. This bill is estimated to generate $134.9 million over 11 years for public transit funding, and funds are anticipated to become available starting in July of 2022.

Project Background

The Transit Emissions Dashboard is managed by CDOT’s Transit and Rail and Innovative Mobility teams. Experts in transit, air quality modeling and data analysis collaborated to develop this user-friendly transit emissions dashboard.

Transit & Rail is responsible for the planning, development, operation and statewide integration of transit and rail to provide Coloradans with safe and efficient multimodal transportation options. Innovative Mobility works to mitigate congestion and GHG emissions by reducing the reliance on single occupancy vehicles. Innovative Mobility accomplishes this by expanding mobility options through ridesharing, electrification, and other emerging technologies.

Phase 1 of the Transit Emissions Dashboard tracks fleet emissions, fleet makeup and passenger ridership of Bustang and Bustang Outrider. Phase 1 also includes some RTD ridership data. Ridership and fleet data is acquired from the Federal Transit Administration's National Transit Database.

Bustang is CDOT’s interregional bus service that connects commuters along the I-25 Front Range and I-70 corridor. Bustang Outrider serves rural communities with routes connecting to other transit networks.

Ridership is tracked by one-way trips, and mileage represents revenue miles of transit vehicles. In succeeding phases, additional local transit agency data will be integrated into the dashboard.

Greenhouse gases (GHG) include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and fluorinated gases. GHG contributes to environmental warming by trapping heat in the atmosphere. The transportation sector emits 29% of all GHG, making it the largest contributor of GHG in the United States.

In the transportation sector, GHG are created during the combustion of petroleum or natural gas based fuels in cars, trucks, ships, trains and planes.

Criteria air pollutants include ground-level ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, lead, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. Excess of criteria air pollutants can negatively impact human and environmental health. 

The Clean Air Act, enacted in 1970, requires states to adopt enforceable plans to achieve and maintain reduced risk air quality standards for the six criteria air pollutants. Choosing transit over single occupancy vehicles is both an efficient and effective way to reduce GHG and criteria pollutants in Colorado, even if the vehicle used is not itself zero emission.

The Transit Emission Dashboard calculates net GHG emissions from transit expressed in carbon dioxide equivalent, using the Environmental Protection Agency's Motor Vehicle Emissions Simulator (MOVES) model. Ridership numbers, fleet mileage and fleet composition data are obtained from the National Transit Database.

By understanding passenger trips eliminated by transit, emission reductions can be estimated. The EPA MOVES model is a modeling system that estimates vehicle emissions based on the source, location and other project level pollutant criteria. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) was consulted to maintain consistency in data inputs andc alculation of assumptions into the MOVES model.

The Transit Emission Dashboard includes data from 2015 to present year. In Phase 1 of the Transit Emission Dashboard, data will be annually updated in order to track and compare emissions savings, miles traveled, ridership and fleet makeup. Phase 2 will incorporate additional transit agencies and increase in the frequency of reporting of data as available.

The Transit Emissions Dashboard is powered by Microsoft Power BI. Dashboard data is sourced from the EPA MOVES model, National Transit Database and cooperation with local transit partners.

  • Phase 1 of the dashboard will feature Bustang, Bustang Outrider and RTD data.
  • Phase 2 will integrate additional local transit agencies, with increased data granularity to provide greater insight into Colorado transit agencies’ commitment to reducing tailpipe GHG emissions.

The Transit Emission Dashboard contains four tabs that visualize fleet vehicles, vehicles by fuel type, emitted versus avoided emissions and ridership data. Widgets within each tab will allow users to compare the data by selecting specific years, service modes or agency depending on the selected tabs.

The dashboard will be complemented by an upcoming Transit Zero Emission Vehicle Roadmap, which will identify the strategies, programs and resources necessary to achieve the State of Colorado’s goal of 1,000 transit ZEVs by 2030 and a full ZEV transit fleet by 2050.

To allow for a more robust view of Colorado’s transit transformation and emission reduction, additional transit agencies will be included and transit data will be added to the dashboard at a higher frequency. In upcoming phases, the dashboard will begin tracking fuel type and emissions data of CDOT fleet vehicles. Finally, it must be determined what role the Transit Emissions Dashboard will play in tracking the spending and performance of the Public Transit Enterprise created by SB21-260.

The dashboard is updated annually.