The Alaska Clean Transportation (ACT) project is devoted to encouraging the use of energy from renewable sources to power vehicles. These renewable-powered vehicles proposed for future use include electric and hydrogen-powered private automobiles and public transit vehicles. About half of the energy consumed in Alaska is used by transportation vehicles: automobiles, aircraft, boats/ships, trains, and snow machines. Therefore, efficiency improvements in transporation will go a long way for overall energy efficiency and wise use of resources. Clean public transit vehicles also have the potential to reduce traffic congestion, air pollution, and noise in urban Alaska. For example, in SE Alaska, all of the cities have a short road network and abundant (existing and potential) hydroelectric power that could power electric transit systems. The cities of SE Alaska, due to terrain constraints, are also relatively densly populated compared to other Alaska cities.
SES seeks to work with grassroots organizations such as the Alaska Mobility Coalition and the Anchorage Citizens Coalition.
A hydrogen-fuelled bus in Reykjavik, Iceland. On board a fuel cell uses the hydrogen to make electricity, which powers the bus.
Photo: Hallgeir Øya/Norsk Hydro
Electric Streetcar in Portland, Oregon
The Alaska Railroad has completed a study entitled South Central Rail Network Commuter Study and Operation Plan.To download a pdf file of this important study, go to the Alaska Railroad Studies homepage.
An electrically-powered mass transit system, connecting downtown Anchorage to the airport, midtown, and the U-Med district could become economically viable in the years ahead.
In 2002, the 30 km-long Shanghai Maglev Train system opened, connecting downtown Shanghai to the new airport at Pudong. Designed by the German firm Transrapid, the train has reached a record top speed of 501 km/hr (311 mph) on the Shanghai track. The system cost $1.2 billion to build, or $40 million per km. If a mass transit system were to be built at such a cost along the 16 km Anchorage route described above, the system would cost about $640 million, or about the same as the proposed Knik Arm Bridge.
Shanghai Transrapid maglev train
In Girdwood, hydrogen or electric buses connecting to downtown Anchorage have been proposed.
Existing Anchorage public transit: People Mover
Conceptual plan for Anchorage urban rapid transit system, 16 km in length
(light rail, elevated monorail, electric streetcar, etc.)
Conceptual plan for Anchorage-area commuter rail system
(follows existing Alaska Railroad track)
An electric trolley or bus line could run between Auke Bay Ferry Terminal, the University of Alaska Southeast campus, the Mendenhall Valley, the Juneau Airport, and downtown Juneau. The total length of the proposed electric transit corridor, from its northern end at the Auke Bay Ferry Terminal to its southern end at the Mt. Roberts Tramway/Cruise Ship Terminal, is about 14 miles.
Conceptual plan for Juneau rapid transit system
Existing Juneau public transit: Capital Transit
Improved bus connections with Anchorage needed, and a possible commuter rail link using Alaska Railroad track (see above).
Existing Mat-Su public transit: MASCOT
Existing Fairbanks public transit: Metropolitan Area Commuter System
Existing Ketchikan public transit: The Bus
Sustainable Transportation Links