Environmental Benefits


Some 50% of greenhouse gas emissions are generated from transportation within Santa Cruz County. Gas powered cars and trucks have a negative impact on the environment in terms of air & water quality, use of natural resources and noise pollution.

Vehicles emit greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, which contribute to climate change. In addition, particulate matter emitted from cars can be deposited on soil and surface waters where they enter the food chain. Nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides are also major contributors to acid rain, which changes the pH of waterways and soils and harms the organisms that rely on these resources. Vehicles contain many different types of fluids, including motor oil, antifreeze, gasoline, air-conditioning refrigerants, and brake/transmission fluids. These substances are toxic to humans and animals and can pollute waterways when they leak from a vehicle.

Imagine the Environmental Benefits of Less Cars

Without a doubt, for the majority of us, the number one way we can reduce our carbon footprint and help contribute to a healthier environment is to drive less. The Rail Trail would allow residents and visitors to travel car-free and pollution-free for a variety of short trips.

Rail Trail Bike & Walk Trips include:

  • Children biking and walking to school more often and more safely as some 44 schools are within 1-mile of the Rail Trail
  • Commuters biking and walking from neighborhoods to commercial and business centers as 50% of Santa Cruz County residents live within 1-mile of the Rail Trail
  • Residents and visitors can bike and walk on the Rail Trail to dine out, recreate at one of 92 parks that are within 1-mile of the Rail Trail, and have better coastal access to frequent beaches and other activity centers throughout Santa Cruz County


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