CLEVELAND – The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) is testing a transit vehicle — powered by General Motors’ hybrid propulsion technology — that will be used for the city’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) initiative called Silver Line. The GM hybrid-powered pilot vehicle is similar to the 21 vehicles that the RTA intends to purchase from bus manufacturer New Flyer Industries by the end of 2007. The Silver Line is one component of Greater Cleveland RTA’s Euclid Corridor Transportation Project, which aims to improve transit service, utilize environmentally friendly vehicles, reduce traffic congestion, and enhance pedestrian safety. According to the RTA, the Silver Line will be operational in 2008. BRT combines bus and light rail transportation, including exclusive vehicle lanes, off-board fare collection, and fast loading/unloading low-floor vehicles, which are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Transit buses powered by GM’s hybrid technology deliver significantly better fuel economy than traditional transit buses and produce up to 60 percent fewer oxides of nitrogen emissions and 90 percent fewer particulate, hydrocarbon, and carbon monoxide emissions. Other benefits of the buses include reduced maintenance costs resulting from extended brake, engine oil, and transmission oil life; increased torque, giving 50 percent faster acceleration than conventional diesel buses; and operational sound levels approaching that of passenger cars. Currently, there are nearly 380 GM hybrid-equipped buses operating in 29 cities in the U.S. and Canada. For 2006, GM starts the year with 216 hybrid-powered buses scheduled for delivery to six U.S. cities. The clean hybrid technology is manufactured by GM’s Allison Transmission, maker of transmissions and hybrid propulsion systems for commercial trucks, buses, off-highway equipment, and military vehicles. New Flyer Industries manufactures the buses. New Flyer is headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba, with two facilities in the U.S.