Advancing Sustainable Transportation: Gold Coast Transit District Partners with CTE

June 16, 2023

The Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) and Gold Coast Transit District (GCTD) are collaborating to replace GCTD's outdated compressed natural gas (CNG) powered buses in order to improve route efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve air quality in Ventura County, California. CTE and GCTD successfully secured an award from the Federal Transit Administration's Low or No Emission Vehicle Program (Low-No) in 2022 for the implementation of advanced hydrogen fuel cell electric buses (FCEBs) and the corresponding infrastructure needed to support them.

Fueling the Future

This project includes the introduction of five 40' New Flyer FCEBs, which will replace GCTD's aging CNG buses. As the CNG buses near the end of their useful lives, the transition to FCEBs brings both operational advantages and direct improvements in air quality. These state-of-the-art vehicles offer a zero-emission solution that aligns with GCTD's commitment to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and promoting sustainable transportation.

To support the deployment of the FCEBs, the project also includes the establishment of a hydrogen fueling station. This station will not only provide the necessary fuel for the initial five buses but has the capacity to support up to 50 FCEBs, enabling GCTD to scale its zero-emission fleet as needed. Additionally, the maintenance facility upgrades will incorporate advanced hydrogen detection and alarming capabilities, ensuring the highest safety standards are met.

A Roadmap to Success

In May 2023, CTE's project team traveled to Ventura County, California for the GCTD project kickoff. This event included workshops focused on bus procurement, hydrogen facilities, and stakeholder engagement. With an anticipated completion date in the second quarter of 2026, the project is divided into eight phases: Project Planning  & Initiation, Bus Procurement  & Build, Infrastructure Procurement, Design  & Build, Bus  & Infrastructure Deployment, Deployment Validation and Key Performance Indicators, Project Close-Out, and Project Management, Administration, Reporting, and Control. Through careful management and collaboration, this comprehensive timeline ensures a smooth and successful transition to a cleaner transportation system.

As the technical project manager, CTE will assist GCTD in issuing requests for proposals (RFPs) for both the hydrogen fueling infrastructure and the facility upgrades. This partnership exemplifies the shared commitment between public and private entities to fulfill California's Innovative Clean Transit (ICT) Regulation, which mandates a complete transition to zero-emission vehicles for all transit agencies in the state by 2040. By actively engaging stakeholders and prioritizing sustainable transportation, GCTD is making significant strides towards achieving the goals outlined in the City of Oxnard's Climate Action  & Adaptation Plan.

The partnership between CTE and the GCTD is a prime example of innovation and dedication in the pursuit of sustainable transportation. By replacing aging CNG buses with advanced FCEBs, GCTD is embracing the future of clean transit and contributing to the fight against climate change. With the project underway, GCTD and the community it serves can look forward to cleaner air, improved route efficiency, and a greener future for all.

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