National Academies Press: OpenBook

Tools for a Sustainable Transit Agency (2018)

Chapter: Chapter 1 - Introduction

« Previous: Summary
Page 3
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Tools for a Sustainable Transit Agency. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25042.
Page 3
Page 4
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Tools for a Sustainable Transit Agency. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25042.
Page 4

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

6 Tools for a Sustainable Transit Agency Figure 1. Process for identifying needs and proposing tools. Figure 2. Size and sustainability program status of the transit agencies interviewed.

User-Centered Design Process 7 Interview Findings From the interviews, researchers found the following: • Sustainability programs are in different stages of development. Some transit agencies have done more than others, but no one interviewed felt like their transit agency had sustainability completely figured out. • Sustainability strategies range widely, and can include greening major capital projects, internal sustainability efforts focused on transit agencies’ facilities and operations, formal sustainability policies and programs, and setting targets and collecting data. • Most sustainability programs focus on environmental sustainability, though staff under- stand sustainability has environmental, economic, and social dimensions. • Many transit agencies are interested in communicating the broader sustainability benefits of transit, which can reduce driving and anchor compact neighborhoods. • Sustainability programs are usually driven at the staff level rather than the leadership level. • Sustainability staff use a hodgepodge of tools and frameworks to set targets and track progress. Additional detail on the interview process and findings can be found in Appendix D of this report. Identification of Core Needs (Analysis and Desirability Check) Each of the sustainability staff was interviewed about what tools could help them do their jobs better and advance sustainability within their transit agencies. The needs and tools discussed fell into three buckets: Quantification. Transit agencies need tools to quantify and evaluate different sustainability strategies. This includes both tools that provide in-depth information on specific strategies (for example, alternative fuels and vehicles, sustainable construction materials, lighting improve- ments, gray water recycling, capital projects that reduce driving) as well as higher-level tools that measure and compare return on investment across a variety of strategies. Governance. Transit agencies with mature sustainability programs need guidance on inte- grating sustainability throughout every area of their organization and culture, while those that are looking to grow their programs want to know what next steps should be and how they should measure their progress. Governance tools could include high-level guidance on forming, grow- ing, and managing sustainability programs or targeted guidance on tackling common barriers to addressing sustainability in budgeting and procurement, or within specific departments of a transit agency. Communication. Staff often struggle to make the case for sustainability to decision makers, and transit agencies face challenges communicating their sustainability successes to the public. Transit agencies with sustainability programs often collect copious amounts of data to measure their progress, but they need tools to help distill this data into compelling graphics. Tools that identify templates or best practices for communicating sustainability successes or the broader sustainability benefits of transit could also help build support for sustainability initiatives or for transit in general. These three needs were further divided into seven topic areas that individual tools could address: Quantification 1. Costs and benefits of specific sustainability decisions 2. ROI and budgeting for sustainability strategies

Next: Chapter 2 - User-Centered Design Process »
Tools for a Sustainable Transit Agency Get This Book
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

TRB's Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Research Report 197: Tools for a Sustainable Transit Agency explores the development of practical tools for improving sustainability at transit agencies:

  • The Sustainability Routemap: An interactive PDF, similar to a website, that guides the user to improve a transit agency’s sustainability program through application of change management principles, best practice examples, and references to online tools.
  • The Sustainability Checklist
  • The S+ROI Calculator: An Excel workbook that quantitatively evaluates potential sustainability projects in terms of financial, social, and environmental returns.
  • The S+ROI Calculator BRT Example
  • The S+ROI Calculator Solar Panel Example

The tools are available to download as a .zip file.

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.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook,'s online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!