ABA joins U.S. Department of Transportation to celebrate Earth Day

When people entered the Washington, D.C., headquarters of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today, representatives from the American Bus Association, Motor Coach Industries (MCI) and DC Trails, a Washington, D.C.,-area motorcoach company, were there to explain why motorcoach travel is recognized as the “greenest” form of transportation.

A new MCI J4500 that was recently delivered to DC Trails was on display at 1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E., for four hours.

According to research by the American Bus Association Foundation and the Union of Concerned Scientists, motorcoach travel is among the most environmentally friendly form of transportation:

  • Motorcoaches provide 207 passenger miles per gallon (MPG) of fuel, compared to 92 passenger MPG for commuter rail, 44 passenger MPG for domestic airlines, and 27 MPG for single passenger automobiles.
  • Each motorcoach has the potential to take as many as 55 cars off of the road reducing congestion, saving fuel, and cutting emissions.
  • The motorcoach industry is also the safest form of surface transportation, providing some 700 million passenger trips annually. The FAA says in 2011, the airlines provided 732 million passenger trips. Motorcoach service is far ahead of long distance passenger rail, which provided 30.2 million passenger trips in 2012.

The MCI J4500 motorcoach that was on display comes equipped with the latest EPA-compliant clean-diesel engine technology that uses ultra-low sulfur diesel. The J4500 also features a lighter cooling system and optimized axel ratios to improve fuel economy. Standard safety features include new lift technology to assist passengers with disabilities, electronic stability control that assists the driver in critical situations; a tire-pressure monitoring system that warns of low pressure, high tire temperatures or tire failure; and an Amerex fire-suppression system. This coach also includes a video and GPS tracking system so the driver can be monitored to make sure they are complying with traffic and safety regulations.

For passengers, the coach is equipped with three-point seatbelts, footrests and 110-volt power outlets at each seat, as well as free Wi-Fi connectivity.

The DOT’s 2013 Earth Day Fair was themed “Move Green: Inside and Out” and featured displays of green initiatives within and beyond the Department of Transportation’s headquarters building, which has earned the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification.

“ABA is very pleased to work closely with our members, MCI and DC Trails, and the U.S. Department of Transportation to promote the many environmental benefits of traveling by motorcoach,” said ABA President and CEO Peter J. Pantuso. A full motorcoach can take as many as forty cars off of the road and we are proud of the fact that motorcoach travel is being recognized by the DOT for the contributions our industry is making.”

“It’s an outstanding opportunity for us to present our coach at DOT’s Earth Day Fair,” said Bill Torres, President of DC Trails. “Every day, our fleet takes tourists around our nation’s capital, and we’re very pleased to offer them the luxury, comfort and environmental benefits found on the MCI J4500. It’s gratifying to run a business that is making a contribution to the way people choose to travel. Motorcoach travel cuts down on congestion and creates a greener, cleaner highway system.”

The ABA and MCI are working together on several projects to promote environmental awareness. MCI sponsors a monthly segment on ABA’s Motorcoach Travel News (MTN) called “The Green Operator” where the organization looks at industry best practices and ways owner/operators can improve to protect the environment. ABA and MCI also honor the industry’s best operators from an environmental standpoint each year at the ABA’s Marketplace by presenting the “Green Operator Award.” The 2014 Marketplace will be held in Nashville, January 11-15.