It’s the week of Thanksgiving. University of Illinois Fall Break Service Reductions are in effect. This Thursday, November 26, MTD will not operate so employees and their families can enjoy the holiday. A common Thanksgiving tradition as friends and family gather around a table is to say what each person is thankful for. Here are some of our top items from 2015.
In February, MTD was thrilled to snag third place in the Illinois Green Office Challenge. This competition among area office buildings (as far as Peoria and as close as Champaign-Urbana) sought to track achievements in energy and water conservation as well as waste reduction. Thanks to the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center for organizing the challenge and cheers to MTD’s Administration & Operations Facility for making top ranks!
We announced on the blog in March that we were expanding the fenceline of our Environmental and Sustainability Management System (ESMS) to include Illinois Terminal. This meant targeting new (and additional) significant aspects, developing standard operating and emergency response procedures, and a few rounds of employee training. MTD was thankful when our auditor visited last summer and certified both facilities the ISO 14001:2004 standard!
It’s been over a year since we turned on the 1,212 panel solar array on the roof of MTD’s Maintenance Facility. And in that year, we’re thankful that the solar energy produced replaced about 22% of the Maintenance Facility’s energy consumption. This prevented 201 metric tons in Carbon Dioxide Equivalents from entering the atmosphere. This is equivalent to the carbon dioxide emissions from 466 barrels of oil consumed, 215,446 pounds of coal burned, or the annual electricity use of 27.6 homes. These savings are equivalent to the carbon sequestered by 164 acres of U.S. forests in one year! We calculate a savings of about $26,200 from utilizing the energy from our solar array between September 1, 2014 to August 31, 2015.
We announced in November 2015 that new buses are on the way! MTD plans to purchase 12 40-foot diesel-electric hybrid buses in 2016. Three of the 12 will go towards the retirement of 40-foot buses from 2003. The remaining nine will, thankfully, go towards fleet expansion. This will bring MTD’s fleet from 102 buses to 111!
University of Illinois Transportation Contract
The transportation contract negotiated between the University of Illinois and MTD was up this year. In February, we raised awareness of the proposed service and fees by collecting student signatures. This allowed two campus transportation questions to make the student election ballot.
Both ballot measures passed with healthy ‘yes’ majorities! We’re thankful for the continued support from the University of Illinois. MTD is grateful to transport the students, faculty, staff, and retirees around campus and beyond!
Construction and Infrastructure Projects
Platform construction at Illinois Terminal took place in early spring. Work focused on the train platform and the land beneath it. The two month project was an inconvenience for many Illinois Terminal visitors because Platform A was blocked off entirely. But the benefits included increased safety, security, and aesthetic improvements on Platform A and the Amtrak boarding platform.
Construction continues at MTD’s Maintenance Facility. We’re thankful that demolition is done, the elevator shaft is built, and steel frames are going up and up! The upgrade will enable our entire fleet to be stored indoors as well as expand the offices of our Safety & Training Department. There is much to look forward to in 2016!
The Multimodal Corridor Enhancement Project (MCORE) is a $35 million project focused on improving mobility in the campus core. MTD is thankful for a year of planning and collaboration with the cities of Champaign and Urbana as well as the University of Illinois. An Open House in September marked substantial progress as members of the community were invited to view final plans for all five project areas.
Our Outstanding Employees
Every year, MTD acknolwedges a year of labor and the employees who went above and beyond the call of duty. At the 37th annual MTD Employee Awards Banquet, 12 people were recognized for 20 plus years of service. These 12 employees accumulated 345 years of service to the District. Many more were acknowledged for a year of safety accomplishments and outstanding work in the categories of Bus Operators, Illinois Terminal, and Maintenance.
And it is work worth complimenting! Between January 1 and October 31, 2015, passengers and community members have submitted 80 formal compliments. Thank you!
In turn, MTD employees give back to our community, again and again, through the United Way’s Champaign County Combined Charities Campaign. So far, MTD employees have raised over $33,000 for dozens of non-profit organizations.
We could go on…2015 was a bus-tastic year with much to be thankful for. Share what you’re thankful for in the comments!