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

Chapter: Chapter 8 - Examples of Practice in Sustainability Measurement

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 8 - Examples of Practice in Sustainability Measurement." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 8 - Examples of Practice in Sustainability Measurement." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 8 - Examples of Practice in Sustainability Measurement." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 8 - Examples of Practice in Sustainability Measurement." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 8 - Examples of Practice in Sustainability Measurement." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 8 - Examples of Practice in Sustainability Measurement." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 8 - Examples of Practice in Sustainability Measurement." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 8 - Examples of Practice in Sustainability Measurement." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 8 - Examples of Practice in Sustainability Measurement." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 8 - Examples of Practice in Sustainability Measurement." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 8 - Examples of Practice in Sustainability Measurement." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 8 - Examples of Practice in Sustainability Measurement." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 8 - Examples of Practice in Sustainability Measurement." 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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34 A Guidebook for Sustainability Performance Measurement for Transportation Agencies Chapter 8 Examples of Practice in Sustainability Measurement Many transportation agencies currently implement various programs for sustainability and sustainability performance measurement. Fourteen transportation agencies were selected for detailed case studies as part of this research. Another emerging topic in sustainability performance measurement application deals with the development of rating systems for sustainability. The first part of this chapter describes the findings from the case studies. The second part summarizes existing rating systems in practice. WHAT ARE SOME AGENCIES DOING? In developing this user’s guide, the following agencies were interviewed to learn about how they were integrating the concept of sustainability into their programs and policies: • State Departments of Transportation - California Department of Transportation - Colorado Department of Transportation - Florida Department of Transportation - Minnesota Department of Transportation - New York State Department of Transportation - Oregon Department of Transportation - Washington State Department of Transportation Many agencies implement programs for sustainability and performance measurement, including rating systems for sustainability. The case studies illustrate the wide variety of approaches to address sustainability, as well as common themes and challenges.

Examples of Practice in Sustainability Measurement 35 • Metropolitan Planning Organizations - Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) - Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) - Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) • Other Agencies or Municipalities - Hampton Roads Transit - City of Alexandria, VA • International Agencies - Swedish Road Administration - United Kingdom Highways Agency These agencies represent a range of agency types, sizes, and geographic coverage. Table 5 summarizes how each agency defines sustainability, the related programs described in the case studies, and any highlights or unique attributes. These case studies served as the foundation for the development of the sustainability performance measures framework. They illustrate the wide variety of approaches that different agencies are using to address sustainability; they also point to common themes and challenges. As illustrated in Table 5, the agencies have adopted a range of different working definitions of sustainability. Several agencies focus on the long-range effect of program decisions, specifically on an assessment of the impact on future generations. While some agencies use some version of the triple bottom line to gauge sustainability (i.e., assessing outcomes by environmental, economic, and social criteria), others consider sustainability as primarily an environmental metric. Finally, agencies vary in the scope and scale of consideration of sustainability, ranging from a focus on project-level assessments to more program-level or landscape-scale reviews. The following text provides an overview of these agencies’ approaches, looking first at agencies in the United States and then at some international organizations. Appendix F provides more detailed information on each agency in the case study summaries. The research report further documents the screening process employed to identify the case studies, case study approach, and methodology. Domestic Agencies and Sustainability: Trends and Conditions Perspectives on sustainability are in flux across agencies in the United States, marked by a surge in support and new initiatives as well as some skepticism. • The public is getting on board – Public opinion and awareness are shifting toward an understanding and support of sustainability. This shift will help encourage more DOTs to begin to program and measure sustainability. • Legislative mandates are common – In many states, legislative direction is the impetus for sustainability program development. Agencies also report that support from the leadership is a key to success, and commonly these two go hand in hand.

36 A Guidebook for Sustainability Performance Measurement for Transportation Agencies Table 5. Summary of sustainability efforts at selected U.S. and international agencies. Agency Definition of Sustainability Programs/Offices Highlighted Notes/Highlights California Department of Transportation Ensuring that environmental, social, health, and economic considerations are factored into decisions about transportation activities. • Smart Mobility Framework California Transportation Plan • Regional Blueprints • California Progress Report • Strategic Growth Council • Transportation System Information • Office of Strategic Planning and Performance Measurement Caltrans is managing many programs that relate to aspects of sustainability and span regional and statewide levels. They are relatively well advanced in measuring these concepts. The agency is working to begin to implement projects that will bring to fruition those goals and objectives identified in the strategic planning and policy documents. Colorado Department of Transportation No official agency definition, but following general concept of the United Nations Brundtland Commission definition (i.e., meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability to meet future needs). • Environmental Stewardship Guide • TERC’s Sustainability Subcommittee • Greening Council– greening government initiative • I-70 corridor – sustainability applications CDOT is engaged with an interagency working group, TERC, which has established a sustainability subcommittee. The group is attempting to establish the principles of sustainability for all state agencies, and from there determine how they should affect transportation policies and programs. Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) As defined in the 2025 Florida Transportation Plan: “Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability to meet the needs of the future.” • Florida Transportation Plan • Strategic Intermodal System • Metropolitan Planning • Regional Visioning • Efficient Transportation Decision Making • Executive Order 07-126 FDOT has been on the forefront of tracking and measuring performance; however, the agency has not yet classified any current measures as sustainability measures. Throughout agency practices there are many activities that could fall under a sustainability umbrella.

Examples of Practice in Sustainability Measurement 37 Ne w Y or k S ta te De p art me nt of Tr an s por ta tion A t ran s por ta tion syst em th at s uppor ts a s usta in ab le so ci et y is one th at : • Allows individual and societal t ran s por ta tion n eed s t o b e m et in a m an ne r co nsiste nt w ith hu man an d eco syst em h eal th , w ith eq u ity w ithin an d b et w een ge n erat i ons . • Is s afe , affordable, acces sibl e, op erat es effi ci en tly , o f fers ch oi ce of t ran s por t mo de , a nd s uppor ts a v ib ran t eco nom y. • Pro t ect s, p res erv es , a nd en ha n ces th e en vi ro n men t b y lim i tin g t ran s por ta tion emi ssions an d wa st es , m inim i zes th e c onsum ption of resources, and en ha n ces th e ex istin g en vi ro n men t a s p ract i cab le . Gr een LI TES Gr een LI TES wa s d es i gne d as a cert if ic at io n p ro gr am fo r n ew highw ay mi le s. Ho we v er, NYS DOT real i zed th at this pr og ra m ha s lim it ed im pa ct , a nd a ne w p ro gr am -l ev el ap pr o ach is unde r w ay . Mi nne sota De p art me nt of Tr an s por ta tion (M nDOT ) No o ffi ci al d efi n ition, al t hough th e a ge nc y’ s vision refers to a “s afe , e ffi ci en t, an d sust ai na bl e t ran s por ta tion syst em.” • St at e t ran s por ta tion pl an • In t ern al st rat eg ic pl an ning Mn DOT is a l ea de r i n p erfo r man ce -b as ed pl an ning. Man y o f t he ex isting meas u res rel at e t o sust ai na b ili ty, but th e ag en cy ha s not gr o upe d th em as su ch . Table 5. Continued. Ag e ncy De fi ni ti on of Susta in ab i lit y Pr og ra ms / Offi ce s Hi gh lig hte d No te s/ Hi gh lig hts

38 A Guidebook for Sustainability Performance Measurement for Transportation Agencies Ag e ncy De fi ni ti on of Susta in ab i lit y Pr og ra ms / Offi ce s Hi gh lig hte d No te s/ Hi gh lig hts Or eg on De p art me nt of Tr an s por ta tion (O DOT ) Us i ng, de ve l oping, an d p ro t ect in g res ou rces in a man ne r th at en ab le s p eo pl e t o meet cu rr en t n eed s wh ile pr ovidin g f or fu tu re ge ne rat i ons to meet th ei r n ee ds , fro m t he join t p ers p ect iv e o f en vi ro n men t, eco nom ic , a nd co mm unity obj ect iv es . • Su st ai na b ility Pl an an d I m pl emen ta tion • ODOT Su st ai na b ility Co unc il • Or eg on Tr an s por ta tion Pl an Go al • E nvi ro nm en ta l Man ag em en t Sy st em • Of fi ce of Innovative Part n ers hips an d A lt ern at iv e F u nding ODOT is institutiona li zi ng th e c on cep t o f s usta in ab ility th ro ugh th e d ev el opm en t o f an inte g rat ed st ra te gi c sust ai na b ili ty pr og ram an d an im ple men te d sust ai na b ili ty pl an . T hr o ugh th es e act i ons , s usta in ab ility w ill b eco me a guiding pr in ci pl e f or th e a ge nc y. ODOT doe s not vi ew sust ai na b ili ty as an im p act , but inst ead as an oppor t unity to im pr ov e effi ci en cy . T he sust ai na b ili ty pl an id en tif ie s th e n eed fo r m ea su ri ng th e ag en cy ’s pr og res s o n im pl emen ta tion an d id en tif ie s meas ur es , but mu ch of th e d at a r eq ui red fo r t ra ck ing are not cu rren tly be in g c o lle ct ed . Washington State De p art me nt of Tr an s por ta tion (W S DOT ) In th e p ro ce ss of d efi ning sust ai na b ili ty . Al l p ro gr ams rel at e t o sust ai na b ili ty, but th ree o ffi ces le ad the effo rt : Pu b lic T ran s por ta tion, St rat eg ic Pl an ning an d Pro gr a mmi ng, an d E nvi ro nm en ta l a nd E ngin eeri ng Pro gr ams WSDOT ha s a signi fi can t histor y o f t rack in g p erfo r man ce meas ur es in th ei r G rey Note b ook. Ho we v er, th ey are onl y cu rren tly de ve l oping sust ai na b ili ty p erfo rm an ce meas ur es an d d et er mi ning wa ys to m eas ur e t he m a nd im pl emen t t he m i nt o d eci sion mak i ng. Table 5. Continued.

Examples of Practice in Sustainability Measurement 39 Ag e ncy De fi ni ti on of Susta in ab i lit y Pr og ra ms / Offi ce s Hi gh lig hte d No te s/ Hi gh lig hts Table 5. Continued. Ch i cag o Met ro polita n Ag en cy fo r Pl an ning Can be us ed in one of th ree wa ys : • Sustainability req ui res th at an y public polic y o r i nve st men t m eet cert ai n en vi ro n men ta l, eco nom ic , a nd so ci al eq u ity goa ls . • Sustainability meet s t he n eed s o f th e p res en t w ithout co mp ro mi sing th e n eed s o f t he fu tu re . • Sustainability reg ard s t he tota l we al th of so ci et y as cap ita l t ha t s houl d b e p res erv ed or in creas ed , in cl uding na tu ral cap ita l, hu man cap ita l, an d m an - mad e cap ita l, in ad d itio n t o fi na nc ia l w ea lth. CM AP be li ev es th at sust ai na b ili ty cu ts acro ss al l p ro gr am areas . G O T O 2040 is th e s p eci fi c p ro gr am area highlight ed fo r this cas e s tudy. CM AP d efi ne s a ll 250 p erfo r man ce meas ur es as sust ai na b ili ty meas ur es . Ev al ua tion of th e sust ai na b ili ty of pl an ne d pr oj ect s a nd ongoing mo n ito ri ng of th e r eg i on’ s sust ai na b ili ty are no w cen t ral to CMA P’s wa y o f doing busin es s. Mi d- Oh io Reg i ona l Pl an ning Co mm i ssion Meet in g t he n eed s o f th e p res en t w ithout co mp ro mi sing th e ab ility of fu tu re ge n erat i ons to m eet th ei r o wn n eed s. • The Green Pact Pro gr am , r un by th e Cen te r o f E n erg y & E nvi ro nm en t • Complete Streets • Public Policy Ag en da • State of the Region re po rt s • Long-Range Plan • MO RP C r ep or ts th at it ha s b een co nsid eri ng sust ai na b ili ty fo r d ecad es , c al lin g i t “ g ood pl an ning. ” I n rec en t y ears , M OR PC ha s pr om ote d s usta in ab ility p erfo r man ce i ndi cat or s th ro ugh its an nua l S ta te of the Reg io n r ep or ts .

40 A Guidebook for Sustainability Performance Measurement for Transportation Agencies Ag e ncy De fi ni ti on of Susta in ab i lit y Pr og ra ms / Offi ce s Hi gh lig hte d No te s/ Hi gh lig hts Table 5. Continued. Met ro polita n Wa shington Co unc il of G ove rn men ts No ag en cy -w id e d efi n ition, but as one of the guiding pr in ci pl es in a r ecen t polic y s tudy: h eal th y a ir , w at er , an d l an d; ab unda nt ren ew ab le en er gy s ou rces ; a nd a s mal le r carb on fo otpr int. Reg io n F or w ard re po rt Reg io n F or w ard is a polic y- le ve l v isioning study th at id en tif ie s t he reg i on’ s sh ared goa ls fo r l an d u se , t ran s por ta tion, en vi ro n men t, cl i mat e a nd en erg y, eco nom y, housing, ed uc at i on, he al th , a nd public s afet y. Th e c on cep ts ha ve ye t t o b e i nt eg rat ed into act ua l p la nnin g a nd polic y d eci sions, but are mean t t o p ro vide guida nc e an d e nc ou ra ge ne w w ay s o f thinking ab out t hos e pr o ces se s. Ha m pto n Ro ad s T ra nsit (H RT ) Su st ai na b ility to HR T is ab out mak in g a mo re liv ab le co mm unity now an d in th e f utur e b y pr oviding acces sibl e, effi ci en t, an d en vi ro n men ta ll y fri en dly public t ran s por ta tion s erv i ces an d op erat in g t he ir ve hi cl es an d faci litie s acco rd in g t o polic ie s an d p ro ced ur es th at pr om ote pollutio n p rev en tion, cl im at e pr ot ect i on, an d en erg y a nd res our ce co ns erv at i on. • Environmental man ag e men t s yste m (E MS ) • APTA’s Su st ai na b ility Co mm it men t • International A sso ci at io n o f Pu b lic T ran s por t Ch art er on Su st ai na bl e De ve l op men t • Hybrid Vehicles & Cl ean Fu el • Energy Reduction Li ghting Pro gr am Th e E MS ha s b ee n de ve l ope d t o guide al l ag en cy pr act i ces tow ard sust ai na b ili ty . T he EM S i s ne w, an d H RT ha s s et mo de st goa ls an d p la ns to build upon th em e ach ye ar as th e i n itia l goa ls ar e met . AP TA ’s Su st ai na b ility Co mm it men t i s h el ping to guide HR T’ s p ro gr am s.

Examples of Practice in Sustainability Measurement 41 Ag e ncy De fi ni ti on of Susta in ab i lit y Pr og ra ms / Offi ce s Hi gh lig hte d No te s/ Hi gh lig hts Table 5. Continued. Sw ed is h R oa d Ad mi nist rat io n No o ffi ci al ag en cy d efi n ition; one of si x goa ls is a s usta in ab le en vi ro n men t: a good en vi ro n men t w he re th e d es ig n a nd p erfo r man ce of th e ro ad t ran s por t i s t o co nt ri but e t o ach ie ving en vi ro n men ta l qua l ity t arg et s. • Strategic Plan • A nnua l Sco re Cards • Go al s a nd Met ri cs Database • A nnua l Rep or t • A nnua l S ec to ral Report • Annual Action Plan Su st ai na b ility ha s b een pa rt of th e t ran s por t polic y i n Sw ed en sinc e t he la te 1980s an d i s i nc or po rat ed into al l as p ect s o f p la nnin g a nd pr og ram mi ng. Hi gh wa ys Ag en cy (E ngl an d, UK ) Th e a ge nc y’ s a ct i ons mu st s uppor t f iv e ov erarch ing goa ls of th e U K- wi de st rat eg y: • Li ving w ithin environmental limits; • En su ri ng a strong, healthy, and just society; • Achieving a sustainable economy; • Pro m oting good governance; and • Us in g s ound science responsibly. • Su st ai na bl e Development Action Plan (SDAP) • SD AP Pro gr es s Report • Bu sine ss mo nthl y report card • Co rp o rat e S oc ia l Responsibility Report Sustainable development has been considered in management goals since 2005 when the agency began corporate responsibility reporting. The agency has efforts that cut across all program areas related to sustainability, and it sees this focus as a realignment rather than a revolution. Ci ty of Al ex an dr ia , V A Su st ai na b ility is pr og res s t ha t meet s th e n eed s o f t he p res en t w ithout co mp ro mi sing th e ab ility of fu tu re ge n erat i ons to m eet th ei r n eed s. A sust ai na bl e co mm unity is an en vi ro n men ta lly, eco nom i cal ly , a nd so ci al ly h eal th y p lace wh er e p eo pl e c an liv e, wo rk , a nd pl ay fo r d e cad es to co me . E nvi ro nm en ta l A ct io n Pl an 2030 Al ex an dr ia is wo rk in g t o us e t he E nvi ro nm en ta l Ac tion Pl an to in co rp or at e th e c on cep ts of sust ai na b ili ty into its Mas te r Pl an an d A re a P la ns .

42 A Guidebook for Sustainability Performance Measurement for Transportation Agencies • Sustainability has roots in many program areas – Sustainability programs are emerging out of other, long-standing efforts. Agencies are beginning to see the benefit of bringing the concepts under a single umbrella of sustainability. For example, Colorado DOT’s environmental stewardship guide is expanding to include concepts such as livability and is thus getting closer to the concept of sustainability. • Sustainability is just a new word – On the other hand, some agencies see the concept of sustainability as simply a new trend, repackaging long-standing concepts. Some argue that it has always been important; it used to simply be called “good planning.” Domestic Agency Challenges As agencies work to incorporate sustainability principles, several themes have emerged about the challenges these agencies face. • Turning goals into measurable actions – Many agencies are able to identify, agree upon, and set goals that include concepts of sustainability but are finding it more difficult to implement programs that will help lead to achieving these goals. Identifying ways to effectively track progress toward these goals is also challenging. • Understanding trade-offs – Agencies are struggling with how to understand, measure, and track the interrelationships among aspects of sustainability and how to determine the implications of these trade-offs. • Outside agency scope – Achieving sustainability requires the cooperation of many agencies and entities with a range of responsibilities. Transportation agencies are contending with how to make an impact when the outcomes sought are tied to a set of conditions with many inputs and causes. For example, DOTs feel that many of the issues need to be addressed by local government agencies and are not within their jurisdiction. There is still a lack of understanding of how transportation agency policy and practices fit into the broader concept of sustainability and disagreement about what should be the appropriate institutional roles of transportation agencies. • Measurement at the project level – Agencies find that it is easier to consider impacts to sustainability on a regional scale and difficult to measure on a project-by-project basis. • Data consistency – The availability of consistent and reliable data among jurisdictions can be a limiting factor in sustainability performance measurement. • Prioritization – In the recent economic downturn, some agencies concluded that they had no choice but to put sustainability on the back burner as they struggled with budget cuts and other competing priorities. Domestic Agency Best Practices The growing experience and success of transportation agencies in integrating sustainability into their work provide several lessons that can be useful guidance to other agencies. • Start with a big-picture perspective – Since sustainability is a comprehensive concept and has a wide span of effects, agencies find it useful to step away from the DOT perspective and take a wide view. For example, some agencies start by establishing a

Examples of Practice in Sustainability Measurement 43 the transportation system is supporting a sustainable society rather than trying to use their established procedures within a set of sustainability principles. Agencies have found that it can be more effective to begin at the programmatic level and have the policies affect the project level. For example, the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) has decided to build on its project-level experience with the GreenLITES (Green Leadership in Transportation Environmental Sustainability) initiative to develop more programmatic approaches. CMAP defines all of its 250 performance measures as sustainability measures and considers all of its activities within that framework. A regional perspective can also alleviate the issue that some areas of a region are going to more easily meet some targets (e.g., environmental targets), while other targets (e.g., housing) are easier for other areas. This regional perspective can be critical to achieving sustainability goals. • Provide strong, committed leadership – Agency leadership, in addition to a commitment from the political and business stakeholders, is critical to success. • Use interagency working groups – Bringing together representatives from state agencies can be an effective way to establish an overarching set of accepted sustainability principles and coordinate interrelated activities across the state. For example, Colorado DOT (CDOT) participates in the state’s Transportation and Environmental Resource Council (TERC), which is attempting to establish the overall principles of sustainability. CDOT will then determine how these principles apply to transportation and revise their programs and policies in accordance. • Establish intra-agency coordination – All agencies in the case studies identified the fact that addressing sustainability does not fit neatly into one department’s responsibility. Establishing clear coordination among agency departments is critical. For example, Washington State DOT has designated the departments of Public Transportation, Strategic Planning and Programming, and Environmental and Engineering Programs as leaders in the effort to integrate sustainability. • Serve as a technical resource – DOTs are in a prime position to provide technical assistance to local agencies that are required to track certain measurements. Florida DOT serves in this capacity for MPOs in their measurement of greenhouse gases. • Commit sufficient resources – It is essential to have at least one dedicated staff member who can focus on sustainability. Additional resources must be dedicated at an appropriate level. These resources do not necessarily have to be significant, but they must be in line with the agency’s program goals. Expecting too much out of too little will ensure failure. • Commit to a long-term sustainability effort – Over time, priorities may shift, strategies are likely to need modification, and measures may change. Agencies need to be flexible and continue to evaluate their tracking and measurement programs as their experience grows, as they evaluate the effectiveness of their efforts, and as the conditions in which they work evolve. • Link sustainability to funding – Successful implementation programs are linked to funding requirements. Agencies struggle to achieve progress using voluntary programs that lack meaningful incentives for regional or local agency participation. definition of a sustainable society. From there they can look for ways to measure whether

44 A Guidebook for Sustainability Performance Measurement for Transportation Agencies • Reach high – It can be appropriate to have aspirational performance targets; they may require a major change in behavior, but at least they provide the basis to push for change and move away from the status quo. • Adopt targets – Goals and indicators should be accompanied by targets, which give agencies and the public a sense of where they are headed and how close they are to getting there. International Agency Trends and Conditions The sustainability state of practice varies in countries around the world. The following summarizes the lessons learned from the international agencies that were looked at. • Sustainability has been around – In the United Kingdom, the sustainability program simply repackages a lot of what has been going on for a long time. • Sustainability is used as an organizing principle – The Swedish Road Administration (SRA) merged with other agencies in April 2010 and is now part of the very large Swedish Transport Administration. This new agency will likely rely heavily on performance measurement for management and will consider sustainability a central organizing principle. • Internal agency acceptance is widespread – Adoption of sustainable practices has been well received internally and is in line with the interest of creating a healthier workplace and a more satisfied workforce. International Agency Challenges International agencies identified a few challenges that they find continue to hamper progress and need additional work. • Difficult concepts to measure – Agencies are still struggling with how to measure everything in a meaningful way. For example, it is difficult to effectively measure gender equality in transport. • Implementing the information – Sustainability performance measures are often cited by decision makers, but it is still unclear how much they actually influence the decisions that are made. Many staffers understand the overall mission but do not clearly understand how it relates directly to their work. • Cost – In some cases it can be difficult to prove that the higher cost to achieve a sustainability outcome is worth the trade-off; in other cases sustainable practices are synonymous with cost savings. International Agency Best Practices Looking at the experience of international agencies provides some additional lessons that may be applicable to U.S. agencies. • Full implementation is a goal – Sustainability has been implemented by agencies as both a top-down and bottom-up approach; now agencies are moving toward a fuller integration

Examples of Practice in Sustainability Measurement 45 of sustainability in their work so that it becomes business as usual. Sustainability is not considered in isolation but is found within all areas of the agency’s programs and policies. SRA has attempted to report performance on the transport policy objective as a whole, capturing all aspects of sustainability within one metric. In the United Kingdom, agencies are attempting to tie in transport practices with the general sustainability program for all agencies. They are finding useful synergies among the business units. • Neutrality promotes trust – A neutral body compiles the data and provides a report on performance. This ensures that all involved trust that the performance measures are accurate. • Measurement is the key to progress – Objectives are easy and important to establish since they lay out the big picture. However, defining performance measures is crucial. Measures capture whether conditions are changing and point to needed modifications. • Sustainability takes an ongoing, long-term perspective – Adoption of sustainable development is a process, not a decision. • Involving the private sector promotes success – Success has come from early and active engagement with the private sector supply chain. Setting clear goals and requirements allows the supply chain to innovate before new regulations disrupt practices. • Agency objectives can be distinguished as functional and impact objectives – To address the confusion between those goals that can be directly changed by agency activities and those that are a result of those changes, SRA has created two types of objectives: functional and impact. Functional objectives are those immediately within the control of the agency (e.g., improved accessibility as a result of the design and function of the transport system); impact objectives are the resulting benefits of those design changes (e.g., health, safety, and environmental benefits as a result of those same adjustments).

46 A Guidebook for Sustainability Performance Measurement for Transportation Agencies RATING SYSTEMS FOR SUSTAINABILITY The following eight transportation sustainability systems were reviewed as part of this research: • FHWA’s Sustainable Highways, • Sustainable Transportation Access Rating System (STARS), • Greenroads, • GreenLITES, • Illinois Livable and Sustainable Transportation System and Guide (I-LASTTM), • Green Guide for Roads, • BE2ST-in-HighwaysTM, and • GreenPave. The sustainability rating systems were selected for review based on the following criteria: (1) the rating system primarily focuses on transportation, (2) the rating system is owned and/or was developed by an agency, university, or nonprofit organization, and (3) the rating system has or will undergo some form of peer review. Rating systems with a broader land development or civil infrastructure component [such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND), ASCE’s rating system, the Civil Engineering Environmental Quality Assessment and Award Scheme (CEEQUAL), and the Sustainable Sites Initiative] or that apply only to a specific mode (such as APTA’s Transit Sustainability Guidelines) were not selected for review. Table 6 summarizes the existing systems. Appendix F provides further information. Table 6. Existing sustainability systems. System Name System Owner Launch Date Type of Rating System FHWA Sustainable Highways FHWA October 2010 Self-evaluation STARS The North American Sustainable Transportation Council Expected mid-2012 Third-party certification Greenroads Greenroads Foundation January 2010 Third-party certification GreenLITES NYSDOT 2008 State DOT administered self-evaluation system I-LAST Illinois Department of Transportation 2010 Self-evaluation Green Guide for Roads Transportation Association of Canada Expected September 2011 Self-evaluation BE2ST-in-Highways University of Wisconsin 2010 Self-evaluation GreenPave Ministry of Transportation of Ontario 2010 Self-evaluation

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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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