SMART’s green commuters reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 33% compared to using an automobile | Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit

SMART’s green commuters reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 33% compared to using an automobile

Wednesday, January 15, 2020 - 3:10pm
Petaluma, CA— Following a request by its Board of Directors to study the agency’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions, SMART released a Green Commute fact sheet today.

People who ride SMART reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 33% compared to completing the same trip in a car.  To-date, SMART riders have prevented 8.1 million pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from being released into the environment—equivalent to 4,770 acres of forest carbon sequestration.

“California’s national leadership on climate change is strengthened by the investments we are making in greener, forward-looking transportation alternatives like SMART. It’s great to see data that shows how SMART is cutting greenhouse gas emissions and reducing congestion in the North Bay by providing a reliable public transit option to help people spend less time in their cars, while providing a transportation platform that can grow and expand over time.” said U.S. Congressman Jared Huffman.

“The bottom line is this, 60% of our greenhouse gas emissions in California come from automobiles.” said State Senator Mike McGuire.  “SMART is about the future and provides the North Bay with efficient and reliable public transit. California is a national leader on climate change, and if we hope to break this dangerous cycle that we're in, we need to continue to move the SMART project forward."

The agency is pleased to report that many of its riders continued this positive impact of reducing emissions by connecting to and from the train station using low emission forms of transportation such as walking, biking and other public transit.  About 50% of SMART riders walk or take other public transit, while approximately 14% ride a bicycle. 

“SMART is undeniably a critical transportation option that results in far fewer greenhouse gas emissions than a single occupancy car use,” said Suzanne Smith, Executive Director of the Sonoma County Transportation Authority and Regional Climate Protection Authority. “We need SMART. We need all of the tools available to reduce emissions from the transportation sector.”

SMART Board Chairman Eric Lucan pointed out that, ”Even though SMART is still in its infancy, each month thousands of people across the North Bay are making a green choice by riding on SMART to get to work, school, shopping and for leisure trips. They choose SMART not only for the environmental benefits, but also for the ease of being able to leave the car behind and avoid the stress of sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic congestion.”  With each SMART train able to carry 158 seated passengers, and cars during the commute carrying an average of 1.08* passengers, this equates to each SMART train reducing traffic congestion by eliminating 146 cars idling in traffic.  SMART commuters free up 12.8 miles of roadway each weekday.

A contributing factor to SMART’s environmental benefits are the agency’s clean-diesel trains which are equipped with modern, efficient engines that meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s Tier 4 emission standards, cutting particulate matter emissions by 96% and NOx emissions by 93% compared to regular diesel engines.

View SMART’s new Green Commute fact sheet and find trip planning tools to help you green up your next trip by riding SMART at

* American Community Survey 2019 and California Air Resources Board EMission FACtor Sonoma County data