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Released: 4/21/2009 

DRPA/PATCO Celebrate Earth Day

Moving the Region Toward a Greener Future

Each day thousands of residents in the region pass through DRPA’s E-ZPass lanes or park their vehicles in PATCO parking lots unaware of the how their decision to use our facilities is making the world a better place.
On Wednesday, April 22, as the world celebrates Earth Day, DRPA wants to remind its customers of the steps we have long been taking to reduce our carbon footprint. From improving air quality to conservation efforts to exploring the use of renewable energy sources, DRPA/PATCO is “green”.

DRPA and PATCO have a long-standing commitment to protecting and preserving the environment. In 1999, DRPA introduced the E-ZPass toll collection system on all four of its bridges. This technology allows us to process 250 to 300% more vehicles per lane reducing toll plaza delays, traffic congestion, auto emissions and fuel consumption. Just a few short years later, the Benjamin Franklin, Walt Whitman and Commodore Barry bridges were all equipped with the use of a moveable barrier which reduces congestion at peak travel times by allowing for more efficient travel. At PATCO, with an average of 37,000 daily riders, we remove more than 12,500 cars from the road each day which equates to the removal of 55 million pounds of CO2 emissions a year. But we are always looking to expand our greening efforts.

“DRPA takes its role as a contributor to the region seriously and is working diligently to identify ways to work more efficiently,” says DRPA CEO John J. Matheussen.

Most recently, we began working with our port partners at the South Jersey Port Corporation and the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority on the development of a Green Ports Initiative. The Green Ports Initiative will assist all three agencies in creating a cooperative approach to develop environmental programs and projects aimed at reducing or neutralizing the impact of port operations upon the environment and the surrounding community. 

In the future, we will begin a pilot project to introduce High Speed E-ZPass at the Commodore Barry and Betsy Ross bridges. Through our Ben Franklin Bridge West Side Traffic Mitigation Study we will identify and implement short and long-term solutions that will address congestion issues at the base of the bridge in Philadelphia.  We are developing a Traffic Management Center that will assist in alleviating idling by facilitating continuous movement of people and goods throughout the region. In addition, we will continue to research various green strategies such as the use of alternative fuels and alternative sources for equipment power supply. As we can, we will introduce hybrid vehicles to our fleet and will start a vehicle sharing program to minimize the numbers in our fleet and maximize resources by reducing vehicle size. Extensive analysis is underway on the possible expansion of PATCO in South Jersey and Philadelphia and work with interested communities along our PATCO line on Transit Oriented Development are other key green initiatives.

“For over 40 years, PATCO has been helping ‘Keep the Region Moving’ and ‘Go Green’ by reducing traffic congestion and harmful emissions to our environment while getting our passengers everywhere they want to go,” added John J. Matheussen. “We are also managing operations at our four bridges to be sensitive to reducing environmental impacts with E-ZPass and work schedules to lessen congestion. Working together as a region, we can continue to make a positive difference in the quality of life of our residents and to help preserve our planet,” he added.

The Delaware River Port Authority is a regional transportation agency. DRPA owns and operates the Benjamin Franklin, Walt Whitman, Commodore Barry and Betsy Ross bridges, PATCO, the Philadelphia Cruise Terminal and the RiverLink Ferry.

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