A major benefit of designing and building a completely new subway line, from the roadbed up, lies in the ability of engineers to take advantage of a variety of fresh, new sustainable technologies. Some of these methods can help hold down operating costs and conserve scarce resources while others contribute to customer comfort in the underground environment.
Mass transit is already the environmentally-savvy way to commute. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's subways, buses and commuter rail lines make a vital contribution to clean air throughout the region while helping to conserve scarce resources. When it opens for service in 2013, the Second Avenue Subway will carry 200,000 riders a day and they will benefit from several features designed to conserve energy, maintain a comfortable customer environment and help illuminate stations.
Customers will benefit directly from air tempering within stations, which will keep temperatures about five degrees cooler in the warm weather months and also reduce humidity. Other energy-saving features include escalators that operate only upon demand and the use of skylights, which will maximize the opportunity to use daylight to brighten stations.
Power to trains will be delivered by an aluminum third rail, which will consume less energy than the standard steel third rail. This is especially impressive when combined with MTA New York City's Transit latest generation of subway cars, which consume less energy than older cars.