CLEAR THE AIR is an annual program to increase awareness of the problem caused by ground level ozone and provide viable solutions for the public to make a contribution by reducing harmful emissions.

EACH YEAR the Clear the Air campaign reminds you that riding CATS, joining a vanpool or carpool, riding your bike or walking to work is the best contribution you can make to help reduce ozone pollution.

What is Ground Level Ozone?

A highly reactive form of oxygen that is unhealthy to breathe and can damage trees and crops. It is formed when nitrogen oxides react with volatile organic compounds in the air during very hot weather.

Ground level ozone can come from a variety of sources. But, the main culprit is the automobile. In the eight-county Charlotte region, nearly 50% of ozone-forming air pollution comes from on-road vehicles.

Air Quality Websites

To check the daily ozone forecast in the Charlotte area or other information concerning air quality visit:

Mecklenburg County Air Quality

The North Carolina Division of Air Quality

United States Environmental Protection Agency

Know the Code

The Air Quality Index (AQI) is used to tell you how clean or polluted your air is, and what associated health effects you should be aware of. Days with unhealthy levels of pollutants are called Ozone Action Days, and are classified as orange, red or purple.




Act Now: Develop an Ozone Action Plan

CATS can help you develop a personal ozone action plan to use on days when the ozone color code is orange, red or purple. The following are things you can do to help reduce ozone pollution.

Get on board. Ride CATS or LYNX, vanpool, carpool, bike or walk.

Telecommute. Check out your employer's po

licy on working from home.

Don't Drive To Lunch. Either bring your lunch from home or walk to a nearby restaurant.

Drive Smart. When you must drive, try to plan ahead so you can combine short trips.

Stay Tuned. Keep your car, boat and lawn equipment tuned up. Well-maintained engines emit less air pollutants.

Wait Till Dusk. Postpone refueling and using gasoline-powered lawn equipment until after 6:00 pm. Ground level ozone can be created when gasoline fumes heat up.

Don't Idle. When you do drive, avoid idling for long periods of time, avoid sudden stops and starts, and stay within the speed limit.

Do a Little, Help a Lot

Public transit is a vital component of a greener, more sustainable community. CATS is committed to going green in order to better service the Charlotte Area and protect our future.

CATS uses ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel on our entire fleet of buses, which significantly lowers the sulfur content compared to regular diesel fuel. CATS also uses diesel particulate filters on buses. This makes our buses burn 90 percent cleaner.

CATS has 28 hybrid buses in its fleet. Hybrid buses use electric power to propel the bus so they reduce harmful emissions by up to 90 percent.

CATS has an anti-idling policy. This policy states all CATS owned transit and service vehicles cannot idle for more than 10 minutes at a CATS Facility or while in service, and cannot idle more than 5 minutes in an enclosed area.

Rain gardens designed for storm water retention were built at new park and ride locations.

Recycled water is used to wash CATS' vehicles.

The CATS S. Tryon Maintenance Facility uses solar panels. The panels generate about 10 percent of the facility's energy use.

To learn more about CATS clean air initiative or our employer programs, please contact us: