National Academies Press: OpenBook

A Guidebook for Sustainability Performance Measurement for Transportation Agencies (2011)

Chapter: Appendix A - Defining Sustainability for Your Agency

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Page 50
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A - Defining Sustainability for Your Agency." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2011. A Guidebook for Sustainability Performance Measurement for Transportation Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14598.
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Page 50
Page 51
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A - Defining Sustainability for Your Agency." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2011. A Guidebook for Sustainability Performance Measurement for Transportation Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14598.
×
Page 51
Page 52
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A - Defining Sustainability for Your Agency." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2011. A Guidebook for Sustainability Performance Measurement for Transportation Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14598.
×
Page 52
Page 53
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A - Defining Sustainability for Your Agency." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2011. A Guidebook for Sustainability Performance Measurement for Transportation Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14598.
×
Page 53

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Defining Sustainability for Your Agency A-1 Appendix A Defining Sustainability for Your Agency Here we propose a generally applicable approach to defining sustainability that transportation agencies can easily implement. The approach is shown graphically in Figure A-1, followed by a description of the individual steps and an example of how the guidance can be used to develop a definition of sustainability. The approach can also be used for entities within an agency (such as a district, department, or division) to define sustainability as it relates to them. Figure A-1. Steps to develop a sustainability definition. Step 1 – Review Sustainability Principles Any definition of sustainability should be grounded in the basic principles of sustainability, which have been defined in this research as shown in the following. Sustainability entails meeting human needs for the present and future while: • Preserving and restoring environmental and ecological systems, • Fostering community health and vitality, • Promoting economic development and prosperity, and • Ensuring equity between and among population groups and over generations.

A-2 A Guidebook for Sustainability Performance Measurement for Transportation Agencies st ep , a gencie s s houl d r evie w a nd understand th e b as ic principles of sust ainability as a s tartin g point to developing a d ef ini tion. Step 2 – Consider th e C onte xt Th e c ontex t i n w hich sust ainability is bein g c onsidered is important in se tting boundaries an d contex t f or th e d ef init io n b eing developed. Th es e c onsiderations include • Function, • Scope, and • Stakeholders. Step 3 – Id en ti fy Goal -R elat ed Keywords /Phras es Ta bl e A -1 show s t he 11 goals fo r s ustainability in tr anspor tatio n d ef ined as part of th e fra mework . T hese goals help define a s et of keyw or ds (a ls o s how n i n T able A- 1) that agencies can sel ect fro m a nd incorporat e b ased on thei r s pe ci fi c c ontext, concerns , a nd pr ioritie s. The lis t of possibl e k eywo rd s i s not mean t t o b e e xhaustive but to provide an idea of issues that agencies ma y w an t t o h igh light in thei r d ef initions . While workin g a ll aspect s o f s ustainability into a s ingl e d ef initio n m ay so metime s b e d if fi cult, it is recommende d t ha t e lement s f ro m a ll four princi ples be re fl ected in th e d ef init ion. In this fi rs t

Defining Sustainability for Your Agency A-3 Table A-1. Transportation sustainability goals and keywords/phrases. Transportation Sustainability Goals 1. Safety – Provide a safe transportation system for users and the general public. 2. Basic accessibility – Provide a transportation system that offers accessibility that allows people to fulfill at least their basic needs. 3. Equity/equal mobility – Provide options that allow affordable and equitable transportation opportunities for all sections of society. 4. System efficiency – Ensure that the transportation system’s functionality and efficiency are maintained and enhanced. 5. Security – Ensure that the transportation system is secure from, ready for, and resilient to threats from all hazards. 6. Prosperity – Ensure that the transportation system’s development and operation support economic development and prosperity. 7. Economic viability – Ensure the economic feasibility of transportation investments over time. 8. Ecosystems – Protect and enhance environmental and ecological systems while developing and operating transportation systems. 9. Waste generation – Reduce waste generated by transportation-related activities. 10. Resource consumption – Reduce the use of nonrenewable resources and promote the use of renewable replacements. 11. Emissions and air quality – Reduce transportation-related emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases. Goal-Related Keywords/Phrases • Safety • Accessibility • Options/equity • Efficiency • Security • Support for economic development • Feasibility • Reduce emissions • Affordability • Choices • Health • Trade • Environmental sensitivity • Efficient use of resources • Use of renewable resources Step 4 – Develop Sustainability Definition Developing a definition of sustainability involves putting the elements identified in Steps 1 through 3 together into a statement that encapsulates the agency’s understanding of what sustainability is and the agency’s intent in applying concepts of sustainability. Example of Developing a Sustainability Definition Agency Y is a small MPO serving an area of 60,000 people, focused mostly on multimodal transportation planning. Step 1 – Agency Y reviewed the principles of sustainability to develop an understanding of the subject.

A-4 A Guidebook for Sustainability Performance Measurement for Transportation Agencies Step 2 – A genc y s taff identifie d t he fo llowing issues of re levance: (1 ) s mall ur ba n a rea, (2) bus , bike , p edestr ia n f acilit ie s i n a dditio n t o m ot or vehi cles , ( 3) fo cu s o n p lanning , ( 4) include local st akeholde rs . Step 3 – T he following were identi fi ed as goal- re la te d k eywo rd s t o b e i nc or porated into th e definition: accessibility, economic developmen t, an d t he environmen t. Step 4 – T he agency st af f d evelope d t he following definition/statement: “Th e Y area MP O p ursues sust ainability by provid in g a m ultimodal tr ansportatio n s yste m f or al l citizen s w hile workin g w ith local and regi onal st akeholders to promot e a cces si bility fo r a ll, to support economic development, and to protect th e e nvironmen t f or curr ent and futu re generations.” Anothe r e xample , f or a d esig n d ivis io n w ithin a h y pothetical DOT , can be as fo ll ows: “Th e d esig n d ivis io n s upports DO T Z i n m ovin g t ow ar d s ustainability by incor poratin g s afety, economic feas ibility, and environmenta l c onsiderations into our work as we design long-lastin g and quality projects. ”

Next: Appendix B - Performance Measures Compendium »
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TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 708: A Guidebook for Sustainability Performance Measurement for Transportation Agencies describes the underlying principles of sustainability as it relates to transportation, possible goals that can be used to address those principles, and performance measures that can be used to address those goals.

Aspects of sustainability-related performance measures, including data sources and examples of use, are discussed. A reference compendium of performance measures has also been provided.

In addition to the guidebook, the contractor’s project Final Report contains the results of the literature review, surveys of the state of the practice, case study interviews, detail on research methodology and findings, and a discussion of future research needs is available on the NCHRP Project 08-74 website.

A CD-ROM, included in the print version of the guidebook, contains an Excel-spreadsheet-based version of the performance measures compendium located in Appendix B of the guidebook. The spreadsheet allows the existing measures to be modified, and macros enable the user to generate and export a custom list of measures. Instructions for using the spreadsheet are found in Appendix C.

The CD-ROM is also available for download from TRB’s website as an ISO image. Links to the ISO image and instructions for burning a CD-ROM from an ISO image are provided below.

Help on Burning an .ISO CD-ROM Image

Download the .ISO CD-ROM Image

(Warning: This is a large file and may take some time to download using a high-speed connection.)

An article on NCHRP Report 708 was published in the January-February 2013 issue of the TR News.

CD-ROM Disclaimer - This software is offered as is, without warranty or promise of support of any kind either expressed or implied. Under no circumstance will the National Academy of Sciences or the Transportation Research Board (collectively “TRB’) be liable for any loss or damage caused by the installation or operation of this product. TRB makes no representation or warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, in fact or in law, including without limitation, the warranty of merchantability or the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, and shall not in any case be liable for any consequential or special damages.

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