MAX on the Portland Transit Mall

Making Transit More Sustainable

Part of what makes transit great is that it’s an environmentally responsible way to get around. Bus lines and train routes bring a host of sustainable benefits to the Portland area, and we’re always coming up with ways to do more.

Transit’s big here.

Here in the Portland area, we drive our cars less than other metro areas our size, and we have shorter commute times and lower congestion costs to show for it. Choosing transit over driving eliminates over 200,000 daily car trips and reduces carbon emissions by over 60 percent compared to driving alone.

45% of downtown rush-hour commuters take transit

MAX carries nearly 1 in 3 Sunset/Banfield rush hour commuters

People drive 22% fewer miles a day here compared to the rest of the nation

Making Your Ride More Sustainable

Green Infrastructure

Green Infrastructure

Bioswales filter and slow stormwater runoff, and the innovative eco-track project at the SW Lincoln/3rd Ave MAX Station provides a vegetated trackway that reduces runoff and flooding.

Solar Power

Solar Power

The solar panel array near Portland State University — the largest in Downtown Portland — generates 64,000 kilowatt hours of electricity and saves tons of CO2 every year. We’ve also installed solar panels on Orange Line shelters.

Hybrid Buses

Hybrid Buses

We continue to test emerging technologies for our buses. Our latest hybrids can operate in fully electric mode and have about 20% better gas mileage than standard buses. We’re also poised to test the next generation of electric buses.

NASCAR-Inspired Cooling

NASCAR-Inspired Cooling

The innovative electronic cooling system found on our newer buses reduces engine drag, maximizes horsepower and improves fuel economy by up to 10%. It also won us a Clean Air Excellence Award from the EPA.

MAX Regenerative Braking

MAX Regenerative Braking

The energy created as Orange Line trains brake — which would otherwise be lost as heat — is stored in supercapacitors and put back into the MAX system to keep voltage stable, reducing power outages that can cause service disruptions.

Looking Ahead

We’ve had lots of success with our sustainability initiatives, and we’re always looking at ways we can do more.

SW Corridor Plan

Possible ways to incorporate sustainable elements into the proposed light rail line between Portland and Tigard include renewable energy districts, habitat corridors and environmental restoration. Learn more

Division Transit Project

Our new kind of transit service between Portland and Gresham, which includes 60-foot articulated buses, will bring more efficient travel to the Division Street corridor. We’re considering adding electric buses for the project. Learn more

Low-No Bus Grant

We have been awarded a $3.4 million federal grant to purchase zero-emission electric buses, along with fast-charging equipment. Learn more


We are part of an association of transit agencies, public utilities and bus manufacturers under consideration for federal funding to examine the benefits and costs of transitioning to an electric bus fleet. Learn more