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Bus Versus Light Rail… Which Creates More Polution?

This morning on KPCW, Summit County Council member Claudia McMullin spoke about the Health Department wanting wood fireplaces banned in new construction as well as her preference for light rail (over buses) at a high level.

This got us wondering about the pollution impacts of buses versus light rail. Fortunately for us, Maryland’s Action Committee for Transit, published a study on the subject. The study’s results show, “that although advances in diesel technology have radically improved bus emissions, LRT (Light Rail) systems still produce less regional or urban emissions in the three categories considered than BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) systems. This is true whenever equal technology levels are compared and even when superior BRT technology is compared with standard LRT systems for some pollutants. In addition, emissions of both modes have improved over time. These results are only applicable to the effects of these technologies on regional air quality and not on street-level air quality or emissions on a national or global scale.”

NOx Comparison:



VOC Comparison:


CO Comparison:

If this topic interests you, you may want to check out the entire results:


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