This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

February 25, 2004

Maryland Launches High-Tech Program to Boost Mass Transit

Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. announced in early February that the Maryland Transit Authority (MTA) plans to use a new high-technology computer system that will make taking the bus more convenient for customers. By the end of 2006, the MTA plans to install digital signs at 200 of the region's busiest bus stops that will carry real-time information about when the next bus will arrive at the stop. Called the NEXT system, it uses global positioning satellite systems and wireless technology to monitor the progress of each bus and accurately predict its arrival time. The system will also monitor the performance of bus systems, including the engine and heating and cooling systems. The NEXT system was developed by NextBus Information Systems, Inc. See the governor's press release.

The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) has been busy in recent months. The Maryland legislature adopted new energy efficiency standards for appliances in January, which the MEA has pledged to work quickly to adopt. The standards are meant to be in place by March 2007. Governor Ehrlich is also promoting the Energy Star program in Maryland. In January, the MEA offered $35,000 to help install a 12-kilowatt solar power system on an educational farm, and back in November, the state launched a Green Building Tax Credit to encourage the construction of energy- and resource-efficient buildings. The state has allocated $25 million for the tax credit through 2011. See the MEA press releases.