• Replacing two existing buildings with one centralized facility will streamline operating costs for Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority.

file under: Energy, Facilities, Government, Sustainability, Transportation, United States

Energy + Transportation

Energy in Transit

Leveraging Energy Expertise for Transportation

Attempting to lower operating costs and enhance sustainability, the Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority (EMTA) partnered with CDM Smith to redesign its bus facilities, which house 141 buses operating 7 days per week in Pennsylvania’s fourth largest city. CDM Smith determined that the best way to achieve EMTA’s goals and affordably accommodate its fleet and growing collection of natural gas powered vehicles (NGV) was to consolidate the authority’s existing buildings into one facility.

Construction for the design was planned in two phases to avoid service disruptions:

  1. Demolition of nine existing buildings and onsite environmental mitigation, as well as construction of maintenance stations and half of the bus storage and gasoline fueling stations
  2. Completion of bus storage, along with diesel and compressed natural gas fueling stations
Erie Metropolitan Transit facility site planThe new facility will include bus storage, maintenance, fueling and wash stations.

The new 147,000-square-foot storage and 61,000-square-foot maintenance stations incorporate many sustainable, energy-saving features, including automated heating, ventilation and air conditioning energy-recovery controls. Additionally, waste-to-oil burners reuse change oil from buses through a clean-burning incineration process to generate heat. LED lighting and smart systems minimize electricity use, while the design maximizes natural daylight. In future phases, energy systems will be incorporated to heat planned administration buildings using natural energy from the earth. The design also minimizes water use through a water-reclaim system that recycles the facility’s water and feeds the bus wash. Using fresh water only for the final rinse in the cycle reduces water used by 140 gallons per wash.

Optimizing space was also a major consideration. Working within narrow limits, the facility’s fueling stations are positioned indoors—unusual for NGV facilities because of the required sensitivity needed for gas release. To meet that requirement, the fueling rooms were designed to contain 150 pounds per square foot of pressure, while the roof was fitted with relief panels to release pressure. Fueling indoors also reduces the distance EMTA’s buses need to travel while lining up, ultimately lowering costs.

In addition to the cost-saving and sustainable design elements, CDM Smith supported EMTA’s neighborhood outreach around the project. The new facility was constructed on four formerly blighted city blocks, and the rehabilitation effort gained popularity in the community for locating buses closer to a school, public facilities and residential areas.

Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority