Skip to main content

Environmental Impact

Environmental Impact

Two ZEB Buses

In the Bay Area, more air pollution comes from motor vehicles than from any other source. So every time someone takes public transit instead of a car, we can all breathe a little easier. By carrying over 51,760,000 riders per year, AC Transit is doing its part to keep thousands of cars off the roads and their resulting pollution out of the air. Central to our clean air initiatives is forward-thinking service planning (that increases ridership while decreasing our environmental footprint) and innovative technologies that directly address some of the environmental challenges facing our service area.

By choosing AC Transit, YOU are helping to revitalize life and our communities by investing in the planet. Follow along on social media and sign up for our zero emission email list.

About Zero Emission Buses

AC Transit is investing in our planet and the future by leading the fight against climate change. Since 1999, AC Transit has been committed to exploring conversion to zero emission technologies—first with hydrogen and now battery-powered buses. AC Transit is moving from vision to reality and is actively converting one of the largest bus fleets in California to 100% clean fuels. By the end of 2023, 10% of AC Transit’s fleet will be zero emission clean air buses. By 2040, 100% of AC Transit’s fleet will be zero emission buses. Learn how we are moving to a 100% zero emission fleet. This transition gets us closer to achieving climate change goals while improving the air you and your family breathe every day.

Woman enjoying clean air


  • Jobs: ZEBs bring good paying green jobs to our community.
  • Better Ride: Compared to diesel technology, ZEBs reduce fatigue because of reduced noise and vibration. It’s smoother for riders too! 
  • Quieter: ZEBs are quiet and reduce ambient noise while traveling through the East Bay’s residential neighborhoods.
  • Cleaner: ZEBs are proven to be an effective way for communities to reduce their carbon footprint. They have no tailpipe emissions—adios diesel exhaust gases! 
  • Healthier: ZEBs bring cleaner air to our communities, reducing particulate matter concentrations that can result in increased asthma rates and other negative health impacts.

Zero Emission Buses on the Road

  • Our Zero Emission Bus (ZEB) program generated over 5 million miles and eliminated more than 12,800 metric tons of CO2.
  • 43 ZEBs: 36 Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric and 7 Battery Electric - Buses.
  • Oakland: vapor compression hydrogen station, with 9,000 gal hydrogen storage tank.
  • Six 62.5kW battery chargers.
  • Emeryville: liquid compression hydrogen station with 15,000 gal hydrogen storage tank.
  • ZEB CO2 reduction in various greenhouse gas equivalents:
    • 23,841 Gallons of gasoline consumed
    • 234,379 Pounds of coal burned
    • 492.7 Barrels of oil consumed
    • 41.23 Homes’ electricity use for one year
    • 2.805 Tanker trucks worth of gasoline


Hands holding a healthy planet

Healthy Planet Challenge

On June 15, 2021, the Federal Transit Administration launched the Sustainable Transit for a Healthy Planet Challenge to encourage transit agencies to take action to further reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from public transportation to support President Biden’s GHG reduction goal. The challenge calls on transit agencies to develop climate, sustainability, electrification or zero-emission transition plans that include strategies with measurable goals to achieve GHG emission targets. AC Transit signed up for the challenge and submitted a Climate Action Plan in time for Earth Day 2022.  This Plan demonstrates a path to achieve 50 percent GHG emission reduction by 2030 and a 100 percent GHG reduction by 2050. The Zero Emission Bus Rollout Plan is the primary means to achieving this effort.

Compostable waste

Waste Reduction

In an effort to reduce waste, AC Transit Sustainability and Facility Departments started a pilot compost program at our headquarters. This 3-month pilot program included setting up new central recycling stations in all break rooms, signage, and education around correct sorting. At the end of the pilot, approximately 2.6 tons of organic waste was diverted from going into the landfill. We also celebrated National Recycling Day to encourage waste diversion in the office and at home! Based on the results of the pilot, AC Transit has decided to continue the program at headquarters, implement lessons learned, and expand the program to Division 3 in Richmond. Stay tuned for further roll out of the waste diversion program!

Earth Month Bingo Card

Earth Month Bingo

Happy Earth Month! We will be sharing AC Transit related sustainability facts throughout the month but first a bit of fun with our Earth Month Bingo Card!

Locate three in a row while riding the bus and DM us your completed bingo card to be entered into a raffle for an AC Transit sustainability prize pack! Only one entry per account, closes on Earth Day (April 22).

Go Green Together!

Did you know that one bus has the potential to take up to 30 cars off the road? In California, the transportation sector accounts for about 50 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing the number of vehicles on the road is critical to achieving climate change goals and clean air standards. Everyone knows that taking transit is good for the environment. Be part of the solution. A typical trip on public transit emits 55% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than driving alone.

Emission cloud

Reducing Vehicle Emissions

AC Transit has embraced the exhaust emission standards set by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for more than 15 years, launching its first hydrogen fuel cell pilot program into service in 2002. Since then, our transit district has adopted operational practices and programs that proudly exceed state environmental standards—including building one of the most comprehensive hydrogen fuel cell programs in the United States. As funding allows, AC Transit continues to purchase and integrate new zero emission buses (ZEBs) into our fleet—prioritizing their deployment to several disadvantaged communities through our Clean Corridors Plan. AC Transit is currently conducting a side-by-side analysis of buses using fuel cell versus battery electric technologies to determine which works best for our service. Learn more about our full Zero Emissions Bus Rollout Plan here.

Solar panels

Producing Green Energy Through Solar

AC Transit has 1,427 kW (DC) of installed solar in 7,032 panels located on an elevated trellis system in Hayward and on the rooftops of our Central Maintenance Facility, Oakland and Hayward divisions. These solar systems deliver approximately 2,226 MWh of power per year—a significant portion of what is required to operate each facility. This amounts to an approximate carbon dioxide emissions savings of 1,535 metric tons per year.

Environmental Tracker

Environmental Savings Calculator

Taking AC Transit helps reduce your environmental footprint and now there is an easy way to determine how much! In celebration of Earth Day, we launched an environmental savings calculator to our Trip Planner. Under “Trip Details”, you will now see how many pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) you save, which is the primary greenhouse gas harming the planet. It will also calculate your ride aboard one of our zero emission buses. Your savings will continue to grow as AC Transit transitions to a 100% zero emission bus fleet by 2040.


Calculation: lbs. of C02 = mileage x transit mode emission factor (grams/mile)/occupancy factor/grams per lb.  Data Sources: mileage based on AC Transit travel distance; transit mode emission factor based on California Air Resources Board's EMFAC2021 and assumes 40’ bus (EMFAC Urban Bus vehicle category; which comprises 75% of AC Transit’s FY2021 bus fleet); occupancy assumes 8 people per bus (average AC Transit FY2021 occupancy factor) and 1 person per car.  Limitations: currently this tool is only able to calculate AC Transit’s portion of trips (e.g. does not include walking or connections with other transit services, such as light rail or ferry).  Disclaimer: This interactive calculator is intended to be an approximation of emissions savings and was developed primarily to engage the public about the benefits of mode-shift from car to bus.   

A road leading to 2040

On the Horizon

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has recently passed an aggressive Innovative Clean Transit Regulation, requiring all transit agencies to transition their fleets to zero-emission technologies by 2040. AC Transit is leading the way to this zero-emission future by its integration of battery-electric technology into our fleet. These have joined our hydrogen fuel cell buses to expand our clean vehicle infrastructure and provide valuable data comparing battery-electric-bus to fuel cell-electric-bus technology in order to determine what works best for our service.