Low-Carbon Transit Operations Program

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LCTOP Projects Map from California Climate Investments 2018 Annual Report (data as of November 30, 2017).

Program Description

The California Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP) was established in 2014 through Senate Bill 862.  CalTrans administers the program in coordination with the Air Resource Board (ARB) and the State Controller’s Office (SCO). Funds from the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program support operating or capital expenses that expand or enhance transit service, increase transit modal share, or are related to the purchase of zero-emission buses. Projects must also decrease greenhouse gas emissions. For transit agencies with service areas that include disadvantaged communities, at least 50% of funds must be spent in disadvantaged communities identified by CalEnviroScreen.

Funding Sources

Funding for the LCTOP Program is generated from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. All projects that receive GGRF funding must adhere to Assembly Bill 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. Each year, the State Controller’s Office prepares a list of eligible recipients and the amounts they can be allocated in accordance with the STA revenue-based formula or the STA population-based formula.

The program has been awarded the following funding totals[1]:

Fiscal Year Funding Awarded
2014-2015 $24.2 million
2015-2016 $74.7 million
2016-2017 $34.5 million

Program Benefits

LCTOP reduces greenhouse gas emissions through the funding of transit operations and capital improvements. These investments serve to:

  • Increase transit ridership
  • Reduce vehicle miles traveled
  • Decrease congestion
  • Reach and support disadvantaged populations

Successful projects will decrease air pollution emissions (NOx, ROG, CO, PM, and toxics) and thereby increase the public health benefits in the communities they serve.

Successful Projects

LCTOP funding has contributed to the following successful transit projects in California:

  • City of Delano (2015):  The City of Delano replaced 8 existing bus stops with new bus shelters with solar lighting using $17,850 in LCTOP funding.[2]
  • Visalia-Fresno Shuttle Project (2015):  Visalia, a small city in the California Central Valley, used LCTOP funding to open the V-Line, a 39-mile bus shuttle route between Visalia and Fresno six times per day, seven days per week.  The V-Line uses 20-passenger CNG buses with free Wi-Fi and USB charging ports.  Cost is $10 each way, with a $1 discount for students, seniors, the disabled, and veterans. Fresno State University, which is one of the five stops, paid the cost for students and employees during the first year of operation.[3]  
  • Alameda County (2015):  The East Bay Bus Transit Project was awarded $1.95 million in LCTOP funding.  The City of Oakland will install 120 Transit Signal Priority units on the 9.52-mile East Bay BRT route between Oakland and San Leandro.[2]
  • San Joaquin Valley Transit Electrification Project (2017):  LCTOP funds were used to purchase 15 zero-emission battery electric transit buses and 15 charging stations in disadvantaged communities.  Buses will be used in Fresno, Stockton, Modesto, and Visalia.[4]
  • North County Transit District (2018): Using an LCTOP grant, NCTD in San Diego County provided discounted monthly transit passes to students at Palomar College, Cal State San Marcos, Mira Vista College, and Vista Adult School. Students are eligible for passes priced at $19 to $24, discounted from the regular pass at $59.


  1. California Climate Investments Annual Report, 2018. http://www.dot.ca.gov/drmt/docs/lctop/2018_cci_annual_rpt.pdf
  2. 2.0 2.1 Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP). (n.d.). Retrieved March 20, 2019, from Institute for Local Government website: https://www.ca-ilg.org/post/low-carbon-transit-operations-program-lctop
  3. Visalia-Fresno Shuttle Project, San Joaquin Valley. (n.d.). Retrieved March 20, 2019, from California Climate Investments website: http://www.caclimateinvestments.ca.gov/profiles/2017/3/11/caltrans-visalia-fresno-shuttle-project
  4. Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Pilot Project, San Joaquin Valley. (n.d.). Retrieved March 26, 2019, from California Climate Investments website: http://www.caclimateinvestments.ca.gov/profiles/2017/3/11/air-resources-board-zero-emission-truck-and-bus-pilot-project-san-joaquin-valley

Additional Information