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Getting Organized: Setting Yourself Up for Success 11 considerations into the planning process, or is your agency's focus mainly on operational issues? · How will you use the results? Performance measures can be used to help you understand and describe what effect your activities and programs are having; assess what's working, not working, and why; hold staff and programs accountable; make solid decisions; and communicate the value of your work. How does your agency intend to use the results of the measures? Case Study Summary: Colorado Department of Transportation The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has taken the lead in addressing sustainability through its interagency Transportation and Environmental Resource Council (TERC). TERC has representatives of transportation agencies and resource agencies from throughout the state. TERC established a sustainability subcommittee to encourage sharing between agencies working on sustainability. The subcommittee focuses on · Sharing best practices between agencies; · Creating a sustainability template that addresses NEPA; · Creation of a potential coordinated certification system (e.g., GreenroadsTM, GreenLITES); · Attempting to create a sustainability policy that can be adopted by all members; and · Developing performance measures, potentially a statewide baseline. In addressing sustainability through the TERC, the aim is not to define sustainable transportation, but rather to get a consensus on what certain common sustainability principles are and how they can be applied in the transportation sector. UNDERSTAND WHERE YOU ARE STARTING FROM Different agencies have different levels of experience and different resources available. In addition to identifying why a sustainability performance measurement process is being initiated, take into account the resources you have on hand and potential restrictions and requirements. Some questions to consider include · Is this a new process for your agency? Measuring sustainability is a new concept for many agencies even if they are familiar with more traditional performance measures. Some staff may question the value of introducing a new set of metrics or may have concerns about how the findings may be used or affect their programs. Others will have questions about how the objectives and measures are defined. If this is a new process for your agency, it will take time to develop internal buy-in, build consensus on what process is used to design the measurement program, and agree on what will be the final measures. · Have you defined goals? An agency's current long-range or strategic plan typically has defined goals that provide a starting point for developing sustainability objectives and
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12 A Guidebook for Sustainability Performance Measurement for Transportation Agencies measures. These goals will need to be reassessed to ensure that they address the sustainability principles. · Are there external requirements? Some agencies are required to develop sustainability performance measurement programs to meet legislative or executive requirements set at the state or local levels. These agencies need to ensure that the approach they design meets external requirements while supporting the agency's goals and management processes. · What partners are you working with? Defining your sustainability goals and objectives requires a collaborative approach--drawing on partners from other disciplines that bring their knowledge and perspectives to the table. Who you engage in the process of developing your sustainability measurement approach will depend on the focus of your sustainability measurement program. · Are you integrating this into an existing performance measurement process? Many agencies already have a performance measurement system for some aspects of their business operation. Typical measures have focused on system performance, facility levels of service, incident frequency, and so forth. In order to expedite data collection, coordinate staff efforts, and promote a comprehensive view of agency performance, it can be most effective to integrate your sustainability performance measurement approach into your agency's existing process. However, some agencies choose to manage their sustainability assessment as a parallel activity, depending on their specific objectives. Case Study Summary: California Department of Transportation The California legislature has passed a set of bills that have required agencies to consider topics correlated with sustainability. Much of the California Department of Transportation's (Caltrans) work related to sustainability is in response to this legislation. · Assembly Bill 32: Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32) Signed in 2006, this bill set the 2020 greenhouse gas emissions bill into law. The Air Resources Board (ARB) was charged with developing actions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The goal is to reach 1990 levels by 2020 and 80% of 1990 levels by 2050. · State Bill 375 Signed into law in September 2008, this bill furthers the GHG-related activities proposed in AB32. Caltrans expects to see performance measures come out of this bill. The bill addresses three areas: - The ARB must develop regional emission reduction targets for each of the 18 MPO areas. - Each MPO is required to develop plans to meet its GHG reduction target. - The California Environmental Quality Act requirements are streamlined for specific residential and mixed-use developments. · State Bill 391 Signed into law in March 2009, this bill requires Caltrans to prepare a state plan similar to the regional blueprints. Specifically, the bill must address how the state will reduce GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and provide a plan to outline the multimodal transportation system needed to achieve the AB32 reductions.