Amtrak Releases 2020 Sustainability Report

Amtrak released its fiscal year 2020 sustainability report this week to highlight projects it undertook to meet its annual and long-term environmental goals.

During a year of falling ridership, Amtrak said it still conducted climate resilience research and developed its first solar-power purchase agreement contract.

The report also cited initiating internal climate roundtables across various departments.

Specific projects cited in the report included the opening on Jan. 1, 2021, of the Moynihan Train Hall in New York City, which uses natural light from overhead parabolic skylights that were created by reusing the building’s steel trusses.

Train information displays use LED lights, and escalators are equipped with smart features, including heaters, to ensure reliability during cold weather, and with a “sleep mode” to save energy and increase durability,

Amtrak said that since 2006, it has lost more than $127 million in revenue due to severe storms and weather disruptions, with a projected loss (based on historic costs) of an expected additional $220 million by 2030.

“Based on predicted storm surge and flood maps, if we continue business as usual, we are exposed to increasing operational, financial and reputational risk,” the report said.

This has led the carrier to develop a Climate Resilience Strategic Plan in an effort to better understand current business practices, available data, vulnerabilities, and climate risks.

 “As we identify goals and objectives for ensuring resiliency in our supply chain, operations and infrastructure, we will establish priorities and metrics to track progress,” Amtrak reported.

The first phase of the plan will focus on the Northeast Corridor.

Sagging ridership also led to less food and beverage offered by the carrier being consumed by passengers.

Rather than see these go to waste, Amtrak said it used Food Finders, a nonprofit agency, to collect those items, as well as linens and towels, and distribute them, free of charge, to local food pantries, shelters and community centers.

This was done in Washington, Seattle, Chicago, Oakland, New Orleans, Boston, New York, and Miami.

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