Category Archives: Benefits of Transit

5 Reasons to Go Car-Free

Every year on (or around) September 22, the planet comes together to celebrate World Carfree Day. This global car-free movement encourages motorists to leave their cars behind and try alternative modes of transportation for one day.

Thinking about going car-free? Here are some reasons to give it a try:

#1. It saves you money.

When you take TriMet, you don’t have to pay for parking or gas. But if you go completely car-free, you don’t have to worry about loans, car payments, insurance or maintenance costs.

Fact: According to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), transit riders in Portland can save up to $861 a month ($10,334 a year).

#2. It’s less stress.

The average American driver can spend up to 450 hours each year on the road, resulting in rising levels of frustration and stress that can really take a toll on your quality of life. By taking public transportation, you can use your commute time to read, text friends, or just take some well-deserved “me” time.


#3. It’s safer.

According to a study released by APTA, commuters reduce their risk of of being in a traffic accident by more than 90 percent by simply taking public transit over commuting by car.

Fact: Cities that average more than 50 annual transit trips per capita have about half the average traffic fatality rates as cities where residents average fewer than 20 annual trips.

#4. It’s better for the environment.

Choosing to walk, bike, or take public transit during your commute helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and traffic congestion. When you decide to reduce your carbon footprint, you help keep our planet clean!

#5. It’s good for your health.

We’re just more active when we’re less dependent on cars. Taking public transportation helps us get in more exercise because of the walking and biking we do getting to and from our stops.

Fact: A study in North Carolina showed that light rail passengers were 81% less likely to become obese over time and would lose an average of 7 pounds over a one-year period.

Bikes on Tilikum Crossing

Are you up for the car-free challenge?

Jessica Ridgway

Jessica Ridgway

I'm TriMet's Web and Social Media Coordinator. I develop content for our website and social media channels. I'm a daily MAX rider and an adopted Oregonian.

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Shuttle connects you in Hillsboro—and it’s free!

There’s a new bus shuttle that now serves North Hillsboro, connecting people to jobs, education, community services and events. Best of all, it’s free!

Ride Connection, Washington County, the City of Hillsboro and the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce have teamed up to offer this service, officially called North Hillsboro Link.


This shuttle is perfect for commuters going to and from Orenco Station where you can connect with the MAX Blue Line or with bus Line 47-Baseline/Evergreen.

In addition to the Hillsboro Chamber partnership, the service was made possible by Federal Transit Administration funds along with the guidance of the Governor’s Regional Solutions Team and ODOT. The Hillsboro shuttle offers service to major employers such as Intel, Radisys, FEI and Reser’s Fine Foods, among many others. Service begins at 5:29 a.m. and lasts until almost 7 p.m. All shuttles also have bike racks and wheelchair-accessible lifts.

See the full schedule and route map

This is all part of our grand plan, especially on the Westside, to offer shuttles in areas where our ridership can’t support regular bus service. Did you know there are already two other free shuttles in Tualatin and Forest Grove?

Flexible routes

Don’t worry, shuttle drivers won’t pass you by. If you’re along the route and not near a designated stop, simply signal to the driver to stop. You also can request stops along the route when boarding, along with being picked up or dropped off outside the route for one leg of the trip. It’s best to schedule these off-route stops in advance. Just call our friends at Ride Connection at 503-226-0700.

Weather and holiday schedules

On days with severe weather such as ice or snow, shuttle schedules may follow snow routes and all service may be suspended until the weather improves.

The shuttles don’t run on New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

In the future, we hope to add more shuttles like this in the metro area. Stay tuned!

Andrew Longeteig

Andrew Longeteig

I’m TriMet’s Communications Coordinator. I share what’s happening at the agency with the media and general public. When I’m not working, I’ll either be watching the Blazers or at a rock concert.

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Huh? What’s an “all-electric” hybrid?

Now on the streets—you might find yourself aboard one of our newest all-electric hybrids! This next-generation of hybrids is designed to be our most efficient for fuel and emissions.

Thanks to a $2.5 million federal grant, we were able to purchase four of these buses, which are similar to a Toyota Prius—just a smidge bigger. Here’s how they work: a diesel engine powers a generator, which starts the bus and electrifies the energy storage system. The electric-traction motor then turns the wheels.


It’s a hybrid—but electric!

“All-electric hybrid” may sound contradictory. These hybrids, though, are different and have even more awesome features than the last four we launched into service in 2012.

Everything on them can be electrically powered 100 percent—and for up to two miles! (Our older hybrids can’t do this because the diesel engine powers the hydraulic steering and air compressor.) If there’s not enough energy stored in the battery, the generator starts and uses the diesel engine, which also recharges the battery.

Another cool feature is what’s called Stop/Start Drive. As the bus slows to about 8 mph—and as long as the lithium-ion battery has enough juice—the engine shuts off and the battery takes over.

During shut-off, the bus’ accessories—such as the lights, air compressor, hydraulic steering and air conditioning—are battery-powered. As the bus leaves a stop and moves faster than 10 mph, the engine starts again.


These buses use regenerative braking, too. This means when the brakes are applied, kinetic energy is captured and can be used immediately or stored in the battery for later use. The batteries also provide acceleration power.

Good gas mileage, low emissions

We won’t know until they’ve been in service for a while, but we expect these new hybrids to get at least 6 miles per gallon … just like our other four hybrids. In comparison, our newer fleet of standard buses get between 4.5 and 5 miles per gallon. In a 50,000-mile stretch, our all-electric hybrids would use about 1,719 fewer gallons of fuel when compared to our standard diesel buses. At over 50,000 miles, this saves about $4,000 worth of fuel!

The diesel engines on our newest hybrids also run even cleaner, as they comply with 2013 EPA regulations as opposed to the less-strict standards from 2010.

We’re often asked about getting more hybrid, electric, biogas or compressed natural gas (CNG) buses. We’re considering all of these quickly-evolving technologies, but as we test them, we look for cost-effectiveness of a bus’ entire lifecycle before making wholesale changes to the fleet.

Shhhhh …

And they’re quieter than our other buses. They’ll still make some noise, but we’ve never put a bus on the streets that’s basically as loud as a typical passenger car. Folks who are visually impaired will still be able to hear it.

Down the road

We’ll watch how our newest hybrid buses perform on the streets to see if we’ll buy more of them. Battery technology continues to improve and buses are being tested that can go 200 to 300 miles (wow!) without a recharge. These hybrids just may be great transition toward all-electric buses in the future.

Andrew Longeteig

Andrew Longeteig

I’m TriMet’s Communications Coordinator. I share what’s happening at the agency with the media and general public. When I’m not working, I’ll either be watching the Blazers or at a rock concert.

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Making the MAX Orange Line green

The Portland area thrives on sustainability. From its city-wide recycling programs to a nationally recognized bike-friendly ranking, it’s clear to see our region cares about the environment — and we do too.

From the early stages of the MAX Orange Line project, we’ve been committed to sustainability. Of course, the new Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People, set new standards by being the first (and only) vehicle-free bridge in the United States dedicated exclusively to transit, bicycles and pedestrians, but sustainable practices can be found all along the Orange Line — from the vegetation planted along the rails to the energy initiatives set in place, sustainability has been a focus the entire time.

Going green


You’ll find 4,204 square feet of flowering, low-growing evergreen plants between the tracks at the Lincoln St/SW 3rd Ave MAX Station. Although green trackways exist in Europe, this is a first for Portland and the only known eco-track treatment in the U.S. These plants help enrich the urban experience along the MAX line and reduce train noise and vibration.

Additionally, eight buildings on the alignment—six on the east side of the Willamette River and two on the west side—have eco-roofs. This top layer of vegetation and soil improves a building’s insulation, absorbs carbon dioxide, helps filter dust and pollutants out of the air (A 1,000-square-foot green roof removes about 40 pounds of airborne particulates per year!) and diverts stormwater by absorbing rainwater.


Speaking of stormwater…

Bio-swales, stormwater planters and rain gardens are found all along the Orange Line so that stormwater runoff can be collected and safely filtered back into the groundwater. Rain that falls on Tilikum Crossing is directed to treatment facilities on both sides of the river — another first for Portland as runoff from the other bridges flows directly into the city’s combined sewer overflow facilities.

Stormwater is captured and filtered at 252 curbside facilities and 34 other swales and basins.

Energy usage

At most of the Orange Line stations you’ll see solar panels on the shelter roofs. These panels generate electricity from both sides and help offset the power usage needed at each station.


Additionally, all lighting along the Orange Line is LED instead of conventional halide bulbs. LEDs use one-sixth of the electricity as halide bulbs and will only need to be replaced every 10 to 15 years.

Collaborative sustainability

The SE Park Ave Park & Ride is a prime example of many sustainable practices coming together as a whole. Metro, the Oregon Department of Transportation, Urban Green and members of the community all joined together to create this innovative parking structure.


Some key practices in place:

  • All of the building’s stormwater runoff is captured and treated onsite.
  • Invasive plants were removed and native species were planted to restore former habitats.
  • Over 100 bike parking spaces are provided, as well as an area for future car-sharing programs.
  • Solar panel energy operates all of the Park & Ride’s functions — including its elevators and lighting — allowing the building to achieve net zero energy usage!

The MAX Orange Line project’s deep commitment to sustainability and social benefit will help shape how we plan projects in the future, and hopefully, encourage other agencies and industries around the world to keep sustainability in mind.

Learn more about the sustainable practices in place on the MAX Orange Line.

Jessica Ridgway

Jessica Ridgway

I'm TriMet's Web and Social Media Coordinator. I develop content for our website and social media channels. I'm a daily MAX rider and an adopted Oregonian.

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Let’s Dump the Pump on June 18

What would you do with an extra $999 this month? How about an extra $11,985 this year?

Those are the latest numbers from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), a non-profit organization that calculates average savings for a two-person household that takes transit instead of owning a car. According to the June 2015 study, Portlanders save the 10th-most among U.S. cities.

DTP email

If you’re wondering where these figures came from (and how they could possibly be so high), consider that they’re based on Portland’s average gas price. APTA also assumes that you (and the other person in your household) are driving 15,000 miles per year, and that your car gets just over 23 miles per gallon. These numbers obviously vary for every driver, but they work as reasonable estimates.

Once costs such as parking, maintenance, registration, insurance and other basic charges are factored in, it’s easier to see how simply paying $100 each month for a transit pass could lead to big savings.

That’s just what leaving your car behind does for you. But everyone in our community stands to benefit from your decision to hop on transit (or your bike, or your own two feet). One fewer car in transit means less traffic and shorter commute times. It also keeps pollution out of the air—for each mile taken on TriMet, 59% less carbon is emitted compared to driving alone. And, according to APTA, every $1 invested in public transportation, $4 is returned to our economy. Not bad!


So let’s celebrate the difference we can make. June 18 is National Dump the Pump Day—our chance to show ourselves, our neighbors, family and friends that taking transit is the smart thing to do. Plan to commute by bus with a coworker who’s new to TriMet. Go on a picnic in Washington Park and take the train. Calculate your gas savings and share your results on Facebook using #DumpThePump.

Now back to the twelve-thousand-dollar question. With all that extra cash, here are some things you might consider:

  • Season tickets to the Blazers
  • Reservations to a new restaurant each month
  • The latest Apple gadget
  • Dream big and save up—this could take a dent out of a future housing payment or college tuition!

You probably don’t need to be told what to do with $11,985. But you can make a commitment to dump the pump and spread the word, and start on the path toward saving.

Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Coordinator. I'm here to help tell our story, and to share the interesting things I find along the way. When I'm not here, you'll find me out riding my bike and taking pictures.

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How going green improves more than just your commute

We make going green so easy, you might not even notice the benefits beyond being Earth-friendly. Try it and you’ll likely find it’s the better choice for your wallet and your health, too.

We make it as simple as possible to use our system, which may be why 78% of our riders choose TriMet over driving. Beyond the convenience of multiple modes—bus, MAX and WES—tools like the Trip Planner and real-time TransitTracker data help you find the right route, down to the minute. And, as more than 100,000 users will attest, our TriMet Tickets app makes it easy to buy a fare anytime, anywhere using your smartphone.


So where does the green part come in? When you ride the bus, MAX or WES Commuter Rail, you’re helping reduce emissions and easing congestion. For each mile taken on TriMet, 59% less carbon is emitted compared to driving alone. Plus, the Westside MAX can carry about 2.5 lanes worth of traffic on Sunset Highway, so both the Earth and drivers sitting in traffic thank you!

And after 100 million trips a year, we know our riders are getting something out of this, too:

  • Instead of paying for parking and gas every day, our riders get to spend it on something else, like gardening supplies or a nice lunch. According to the American Public Transportation Association, those savings could be up to $985 a month!
  • In addition to monetary savings, you get to preserve some peace of mind when riding with us. While others may sit in traffic for an estimated 44 hours a year, you can spend that time answering emails, reading a book or simply taking some well deserved “me” time.
  • Also, that extra walk to the bus stop gives you a few more minutes of daily exercise. Or feel free to ride your bike to a stop to get in a bit of exercise (we’re bike-friendly)!

So, next time you consider how you can make an additional green choice in your life, consider rolling with TriMet. We’re excited to see you aboard!

Stefania Hajnosz

I’m TriMet’s marketing and outreach intern. I help with miscellaneous writing projects and market research. I ride the bus most days and can be found exploring the city in my free time.

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Will you stand up for transportation?

APTA_SUFT Logo_FINAL-01On April 9, communities across the country are coming together to send a powerful message to Congress: We need long-term federal funding in America’s transportation network.

The nation’s transportation infrastructure is rapidly falling into disrepair and, in the long run, short-term and inconsistent funding will slow progress and cost taxpayers more.

Want to show your support for public transportation?

Public transit is an important part of America’s transportation system and it benefits everyone—even those who don’t ride! When you take public transportation you help boost local and national economic growth, ease traffic congestion and reduce air pollution. Plus, it helps get us to all the places we need to go! Want to voice your support for expanding and improving public transit across the nation? Here’s how you can participate:

  • Join us on Thursday, April 9, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Pioneer Courthouse Square and show your support for public transportation. We’re parking a 40’ bus decked out in stickers right in the middle of the square—come on by and take your photo with the bus or in the operator’s seat! There will be crew on site to help take your photos. (Don’t forget to share your photo with the hashtag #SU4T!) We’ll also be handing out some TriMet swag and you can enter our raffle to win a book of 2½-Hour Tickets (a $25 value).
  • Share your support online by using the hashtags #SU4T and #StandUp4Transportation

Congress must take action by May 31. Join us as we stand up for transportation and help bring all of America’s public transportation, roads, bridges, ports and rail systems up to speed!

Jessica Ridgway

Jessica Ridgway

I'm TriMet's Web and Social Media Coordinator. I develop content for our website and social media channels. I'm a daily MAX rider and an adopted Oregonian.

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Set yourself up for a happy, healthy year—We can help!

A new year can inspire us to set resolutions and make better choices. Here are just a few ways transit can help you achieve a healthier, happier lifestyle and a cleaner environment.

Want to improve your health this year? Try taking public transportation!

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommend that adults average at least 22 minutes of daily moderate physical activity, such as walking, to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation

Incorporating transit into your commute encourages you to walk or bike as part of your daily routine. TriMet ridership studies show that bus riders will walk as much as a quarter mile to their bus stop, while MAX riders will walk up to a half mile to connect to light rail.

Watching your figure? Transit helps with that, too.

According to the Federal Transit Administration, light rail commuters are 80% less likely to become obese over time, and studies have found that men who commute to work on public transportation are 44.6% less likely to be overweight or obese because they are more active.

Become more zen this year: Public transportation reduces stress.

zenThe average American driver can spend up to 450 hours each year behind the wheel, resulting in rising levels of frustration and stress that can really take a toll on one’s health and quality of life. Transit provides riders with the opportunity to relax—something not available to drivers stranded in traffic.

Clean the air with transit.

cloudMore than four tons of pollutants are avoided every day when people choose to ride TriMet instead of drive cars. Electric-powered transit such as MAX Light Rail and Portland Streetcar, along with our clean-running diesel buses, make transit a benefit to public health and help us all breathe easier.

Learn more about the health benefits of public transportation.

Jessica Ridgway

Jessica Ridgway

I'm TriMet's Web and Social Media Coordinator. I develop content for our website and social media channels. I'm a daily MAX rider and an adopted Oregonian.

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December 3rd is International Day of Persons With Disabilities

You probably didn’t know it, but today is International Day of Persons With Disabilities. The day was established in 1992 by the United Nations to highlight the importance of inclusiveness and accessibility in our society and development.

This year’s theme focuses on the opportunities for technology to improve the lives of the more than 1 billion people who live with some form of a disability. (That’s about 15% of the world’s population!)

When we design products, buildings, cities and vehicles in a way that is accessible and inclusive, it can make a huge difference to someone with a physical or mental disability. But it’s really much bigger than that: Accessibility makes the world a better place for everyone.

Anything you can do to improve accessibility is a benefit to all users.

According to the UN, “Evidence shows that when barriers to their inclusion are removed and persons with disabilities are empowered to participate fully in societal life, their entire community benefits.”

That’s certainly true for transportation. If you can get around, you have an opportunity to fully participate in your community.

And when it comes to building an accessible transit system, TriMet is fortunate to have the guidance of the Committee on Accessible Transportation (or “CAT,” for short). The CAT is a 15-member citizen committee that advises the TriMet board and staff on plans, policies and programs with the goal of improving access to transit services.

“Anything you can do to improve accessibility is a benefit to all users,” says Jan Campbell, the committee’s chairperson.

“When you hear the next stop being announced on the bus, or you see a family use the boarding ramp—these are features that were designed to help people with disabilities get around,” Jan adds. “But in the end, they make transit easier for all riders.”

TriMet service is a lifeline for many of us who can’t drive due to our age or a disability. Each year, 12 million rides are taken by seniors and people with disabilities who would otherwise have few options for transportation.

“That’s what’s good about TriMet,” says Jan. “We really do have one of the best transit systems here, and we have put a lot of effort into making it totally accessible for everybody.”

In partnership with the World Affairs Council, TriMet has recently hosted visitors from Canada, Turkmenistan, Egypt and Korea who wanted to learn about the accessibility of the Portland area’s transit system.

Here are a few of the accessibility features on TriMet that you might use every day:

  • Buses, MAX trains and streetcars have ramps that extend for easier boarding if you need it, and most buses can “kneel,” lowering the first step closer to the curb. Just ask the operator.
  • All vehicles have priority seating areas inside by the door for seniors and riders with limited mobility, plus space for mobility devices.
  • At MAX, WES and Streetcar stations, there are textured tiles along the length of the boarding platform to warn you when you’re near the platform edge. You can feel these tiles with your feet or a cane.
  • Many bus stops and MAX stations have digital displays that show you when the next bus or train is expected to arrive. At some stations, including those on the Portland Transit Mall, you can also hear an audio announcement of the next arrivals by pushing a button.
  • MAX trains and buses announce their line name and destination over an external speaker system as they pull up to a stop. Inside, major stops and transfer points are announced over the speaker system and displayed on a reader board.
  • For riders who have a physical or mental impairment that prevents them from riding regular buses or trains independently, TriMet’s LIFT paratransit service can help keep them moving.

Learn more about accessibility features on TriMet

Learn more about the International Day of Persons With Disabilities

It’s easy to combine bike and transit trips

In honor of Bike Month, we’d like to highlight a commute that combines biking with TriMet.

Matthew Hampton starts his commute in the Boring area, southeast of Gresham, and after a short stretch riding on Highway 212’s wide shoulder, he joins the trailhead for the Springwater Corridor in Downtown Boring.

After the “best 8-mile ride you can imagine,” which is slightly downhill, he rolls into the recently renovated Gresham Main City Park and grabs coffee and a freshly made bagel from Jazzy Bagels.

Typical shot from the Springwater Trail, linking Boring to Gresham.
Typical shot from the Springwater Trail, linking Boring to Gresham.

Then it’s a little hop over to the Gresham Central MAX Station where he checks his bike into the secure BikeLink parking room, then boards MAX to enjoy a nice ride to Portland without the hassle of dealing with hanging and un-hanging his bike. Matthew works in the Lloyd District so he walks only a couple of blocks from the MAX station.

His favorite part of the commute is seeing the variety of folks on the trail in the morning: “Everyone has a smile and it’s like we have this little secret. I feel incredibly grateful this path is still providing mobility for the region’s population and it fits in my commute.”

“Everyone has a smile and it’s like we have this little secret. I feel incredibly grateful this path is still providing mobility for the region’s population and it fits in my commute.”

Matthew’s favorite spot along his commute. He calls it “Clackanoma Park.”
Matthew’s favorite spot along his commute. He calls it “Clackanoma Park.”

Other things Matthew likes about his commute? The physically separated biking paths and the locked bicycle storage. He can even get supplies or repairs from the Gresham Bicycle Center which is conveniently located in the same structure as the TriMet BikeLink parking room.

Keep enjoying the ride, Matthew. We’ll keep an eye out for you both on the trail and on MAX. Happy Bike Month to you!

TriMet resources for cyclists:

Bikes and TriMet: How to get there by bike, bus and train

Plan a bike/transit trip at

Park & Ride Locations: Free 24-hour parking for riders

Get your own “I ride” TriMet bicycle messenger bag


TriMet does not endorse and is not responsible for any business, product or services mentioned in this blog article.


Jeff Owen

Jeff Owen

I’m TriMet’s active transportation planner. I work with our regional partners to improve conditions for combining transit trips with walking and biking, including sidewalks, crossings, trails, bikeways, and bike parking. Away from work, I can be found walking, riding my bike, hiking or cheering in the Timbers Army.

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