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Tools for a Sustainable Transit Agency (2018)

Chapter: Appendix C - Proposals for Tools Developed

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C - Proposals for Tools Developed." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Tools for a Sustainable Transit Agency. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25042.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C - Proposals for Tools Developed." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Tools for a Sustainable Transit Agency. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25042.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C - Proposals for Tools Developed." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Tools for a Sustainable Transit Agency. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25042.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C - Proposals for Tools Developed." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Tools for a Sustainable Transit Agency. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25042.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C - Proposals for Tools Developed." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Tools for a Sustainable Transit Agency. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25042.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C - Proposals for Tools Developed." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Tools for a Sustainable Transit Agency. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25042.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C - Proposals for Tools Developed." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Tools for a Sustainable Transit Agency. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25042.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C - Proposals for Tools Developed." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Tools for a Sustainable Transit Agency. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25042.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C - Proposals for Tools Developed." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Tools for a Sustainable Transit Agency. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25042.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C - Proposals for Tools Developed." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Tools for a Sustainable Transit Agency. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25042.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C - Proposals for Tools Developed." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Tools for a Sustainable Transit Agency. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25042.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C - Proposals for Tools Developed." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Tools for a Sustainable Transit Agency. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25042.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C - Proposals for Tools Developed." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Tools for a Sustainable Transit Agency. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25042.
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54 Tools for a Sustainable Transit Agency Work Plan Note: The following activities will be accomplished in Phase II of the TCRP H-53 project, within project Tasks 5–8. The activity descriptions here provide more detail about how we will develop the Tool during Phase II. They do not replace or supersede Tasks 5–8 as described in the overall Project Workplan. Organizing framework: Our first step will be to develop a framework diagram that illus- trates the inputs, assumptions, and results included in the Tool as well as the relationships between them. This framework will serve as the guiding document in the creation of the Tool, outlining all data points that need to be pre-populated in the Tool and helping to ensure that the basic elements and relationships within the Tool remain intact as it undergoes design changes. Figure C-3 illustrates what this framework might look like using many of the variables and relationships that will likely be included in the Tool. We will also document the calculations and research default values for the assumptions to be used in the Tool. Draft Tool: Our next step will be to create a draft spreadsheet version of the Tool that incor- porates the variables, relationships, calculations, and assumptions from the organizing frame- work. The goal of this task is not to produce a final version of the Tool, but to produce a version that can be used to gather feedback from user testers in the following step. We will produce at least one fully-functional version of the Tool, and may also produce additional mock-ups that illustrate different design or functionality options. User testing: We will then test draft versions of the Tool with interested transit agency staff drawn from the panel and from the user focus group that we have assembled for this project. We will circulate draft versions of the Tool to up to six users. Shortly after circulating the drafts, we will conduct an initial interview with each tester to observe them using the Tool following a test script and collect initial impressions. We will then allow users a testing period of several weeks Figure C-3. Example organizing framework.

Proposals for Tools Developed 55 to try using the Tool on their own to assess sustainability strategies that their transit agency is considering or has implemented in the past. At the end of the testing period, we will hold a group conversation to collect additional feedback about potential design or functionality changes. We will include a section in the final report summarizing the user testing process, notes from each interview, and our overall findings. Final Tool: We will then produce a final version of the Tool that incorporates the feed- back received during user testing. Though we will design the Tool to be self-explanatory to a user with little knowledge of sustainability or life-cycle analysis, we will also write a brief user’s guide with instructions on how to use the Tool and documentation of calculations and assumptions. Final report: We will include sections in the final report for this project that document the process of creating the S+ROI Tool, including the organizing framework, the pilot testing pro- cess and results, and changes made between the draft and final Tools. Budget Estimate We estimate that the budget to create this Tool according to the above work plan will be approximately $32,000. Tool Proposal: Sustainability Roadmap Tool Overview The provisionally named Sustainability Roadmap will be the premier Tool created by this project. The Sustainability Roadmap will be an interactive PDF document that helps transit agencies at all levels of achievement and resources start, improve, or expand a sustainability program. As directed by the Panel, this Tool will be a “container” for guidance on sustain- ability program development in all areas. As directed by the Panel, the Roadmap will also include: • Guidance on applying pre-existing tools • A checklist of considerations for budget prioritization processes • Green procurement barriers (e.g., state laws, Board policies) and examples of successful practices to overcome barriers • Communications guidance on how (communication methods) to pitch what (sustainability benefits) to whom (stakeholders/decision makers) • Strategies to articulate the regional benefits of transit (e.g., reduced emissions, improved public health, reduced transportation cost burden) The potential scope of the Sustainability Roadmap is nearly infinite, while our project bud- get is clearly not. Since the Interim Meeting, the project team has made a concentrated effort to develop two organizing frameworks that provide both structure and scope for the Tool. These are: 1. Change Management—Organized by 8 principles of change management: a. Accountability b. Inspiring Employees c. Mission + Vision d. Public Engagement e. Cross-Agency Partnerships

56 Tools for a Sustainable Transit Agency f. Leadership g. Resources h. Integration 2. Transit Agency User—Organized by typical operating roles and divisions of transit agencies including, but not limited to: a. CEO b. Sustainability Officer c. Operations + Maintenance d. Capital Projects/Engineering e. Planning + Design f. Agency/Office Procurement g. Finance + Budget h. Performance Reporting i. Safety/Legal j. Diversity k. Marketing/Public Outreach l. Human Resources A Quick Refresher and Update on Organizational Frameworks Organizational schemes suggested by the Panel at the Interim Meeting were: • Sustainability program components (e.g., SOGR, procurement, budgeting, staff engagement, energy management). • Sustainability process steps (e.g., identify stakeholders, engage stakeholders, identify opportunities). • User’s level of experience and resources (e.g., beginner, intermediate, advanced). The project team has adopted the term ‘organizing framework’ to refer to the structure of the information and/or functions contained within a Tool. The organizing framework can be represented as a flowchart, decision tree, or ‘family tree’—or as a series of these. We can use one or both organizing frameworks proposed here to construct the Tool. Please see graphical representations of each organizing framework in 11″×17″ format. In each organizing framework we include two main types of information: • Organizing Principles—The highest level of the hierarchy, represented by 1.a–1.h and 2.a–2.l in the lists immediately above. • Strategies + Functions—The second level of the hierarchy. Strategies + Functions are the same in both organizing frameworks, though they are arranged differently in each. Strategies + Functions describe the functional areas of guidance that will be contained in the Tool. Below Strategies + Functions will eventually be a third level of Detailed Guidance. Determining what detailed guidance to include will be one of the principal next steps of Tool development.

Proposals for Tools Developed 57 Moving forward, we propose to use one primary organizing framework along with two sub- ordinate frameworks for cross-referencing, as follows: • Use Change Management as the primary organizing framework. Change management works well as a primary organizing framework, because learning about, understanding, and embrac- ing change management principles is essential to a successful sustainability program. In contrast, using Transit Agency User as the primary organizing framework could imply that sustainability programs can operate in existing silos. Necessary cross-linkages between dif- ferent areas of change management appear in that organizing framework and reinforce the multi-faceted, holistic nature of a successful program. • Use Transit Agency User as a secondary organizing framework, via cross-referencing. The panel expressed an explicit interest in organizing the Tool by user and/or department. We agree that providing a way for users in individual roles and departments to ‘see’ themselves in the Tool is essential. We believe that the best way to do that is by including an add-on navigational function that directs users to specific parts of the Tool. We’ll explain this further below. • Use user’s level of achievement as a tertiary organizing framework. Both the panel and the project team have agreed that the Roadmap must feel useful and accessible to users at all levels of achievement—from Platinum signatories to the APTA Sustainability Commitment to those transit agencies yet to sign the Commitment. We propose to incorporate level of achievement in the Tool either in the same way that Transit Agency User is incorporated or in ways that vary from topic to topic. We expect that preferred methods for incorporating level of achievement in particular areas of detailed content will emerge as research and design for the Tool proceeds. One of the organizational schemes proposed by the Panel included steps in identifying sus- tainability projects, such as identify stakeholders, and identify opportunities. We believe that step-wise organization will be best applied selectively at the Detailed Guidance level, where it may work very well for some topic areas. What is Detailed Guidance? We use the term Detailed Guidance to refer to the most specific and detailed content in the Sustainability Roadmap Tool. In most cases we don’t know yet exactly what Detailed Guidance will be included in the Tool. But we do have some ways of referring to types of Detailed Guidance: • New Methods refers to content that requires development of new methods, or refinement or standardization of methods not sufficiently mature to provide case studies in practice. This type of Detailed Guidance will require the most effort to produce, so it will only apply to a few topic areas in the Tool. • Case Studies will be developed for content related to methods already used in practice. Case studies entail identification and documentation of best practice examples, but require a lower level of effort than New Methods. • Links & References are reserved for content areas for which pre-existing tools and resources already provide support, and for those content areas that are not prioritized for development of New Methods and Case Studies. This type of content comprises links to recommended pre-existing tools and resources along with the project team’s professional opinion about how best to apply them.

60 Tools for a Sustainable Transit Agency To further illustrate how the proposed organizing framework would feel to the user, the proj- ect team created sample landing pages for the Sustainability Roadmap. Landing Page – The first visual experience of the user upon opening the Tool. The landing page serves as a gateway and navigational access point for the rest of the Tool. The following two pages show two distinct landing page concepts for the proposed primary organizing framework–change management. The first page uses a puzzle motif to convey the organizing framework. Users would click on one of the 8 organizing principles to access the content of the Tool. The green sidebar shows an example of how the proposed secondary organizing framework (transit agency user) might look to the user of the Tool. A separate dialogue function would guide the user to certain parts of the Tool based on her individual functions or needs. The proposed tertiary organizing framework (level of accomplishment) could be integrated in the sidebar dialogue as well. The second page uses a transit line motif as a landing page, with the same primary orga- nizing framework of change management. The green sidebar could be integrated with this design as well. After you examine the two landing page concepts on the next two pages, continue on to see the Work Plan and Budget Estimate for the Sustainability Roadmap Tool. Work Plan Note: The following activities will be accomplished in Phase II of the TCRP H-53 project, within project Tasks 5–8. The activity descriptions here provide more detail about how we will develop the Tool during Phase II. They do not replace or supersede Tasks 5–8 as described in the overall Project Workplan. Define organizing framework: We have produced two potential organizing frameworks, along with two possible landing page designs. We now solicit feedback on the frameworks and landing pages from the panel. We will also solicit input from the user focus group and from attendees at the APTA Sustainability Workshop in Austin. In view of the input received, we will then refine the organizing framework and landing page for the first working prototype of the Tool. Prioritize content: Defining the organizing framework already entails scoping content for the Tool at a high level. In this activity we will conduct further research to establish what content is already available (that would be appropriate to include as a link or reference) and what types of content this project could produce (that would be appropriate to include as new content or case studies). We will prioritize content for the Roadmap based on the project team’s professional opinions, input from the panel, and input from the user focus group. Draft Tool: We will compile the first working prototype of the Sustainability Roadmap Tool in Interactive PDF. This activity will include preliminary development of new content and case studies. The prototype itself will include draft content and graphics. We will also conduct internal testing to make sure that the Tool is suitable for a beta release to the user focus group and panel.

Proposals for Tools Developed 63 User testing: We will then test draft versions of the Tool with interested transit agency staff drawn from the user focus group that we have assembled for this project. We will circulate draft versions of the Tool to users. Shortly after circulating the drafts, we will conduct an initial inter- view with each tester to observe them using the Tool following a test script and collect initial impressions. We will then allow users a testing period of several weeks to try using the Tool on their own to assess sustainability strategies that their transit agency is considering or has imple- mented in the past. At the end of the testing period, we will hold a group conversation to collect additional feedback about potential design or functionality changes. We may further follow up with individual testers or conduct additional rounds of testing if we see an opportunity to test additional iterations of the Tool and if the project schedule and budget permits. We will include a section in the final report summarizing the user testing process, notes from each interview, and our overall findings. Final Tool: We will then produce a final version of the Tool that incorporates the feedback received during user testing. Final report: We will include sections in the final report for this project that document the process of creating the Tool, including the organizing framework, the content development, the pilot testing process and results, and changes made between the draft and final Tools. Budget Estimate We estimate that the budget to create this Tool according to the above work plan will be approximately $148,000. Key assumptions inherent in this budget estimate are: • The total number of Strategy + Function content areas (the second level in each organizing framework) does not exceed 30. • Detailed Guidance (nested under Strategy + Function areas) in the Tool as a whole will be: – 10% new content—to include: � A checklist of considerations for budget prioritization processes. � Green procurement barriers (e.g., state laws, Board policies) and examples of successful practices to overcome barriers. � Communications guidance on how (communication methods) to pitch what (sustain- ability benefits) to whom (stakeholders/decision makers). � Strategies to articulate the regional benefits of transit (e.g., reduced emissions, improved public health, reduced transportation cost burden). – 40% case studies – 50% links & references See What is Detailed Guidance on page 57 for further explanation of the terms used immediately above.

64 Introduction The goal of TCRP H-53 is to develop a suite of attractive and user-friendly tools that guides transit agencies through some of the key steps and challenges in implementing sustainability. Sustainability is a broad topic, and transit agencies’ needs vary widely. The initial tasks focus on identifying the most pressing needs that transit agencies face, assessing how these needs can be addressed within the scope of this project, and proposing potential tools. Figure D-1 visualizes this process. This memo describes the process and findings of interviews conducted with transit agen- cies in Task 2. It communicates preliminary conclusions about the needs of transit agen- cies’ sustainability programs, along with suggested ways that this project could help address those needs. We seek the panel’s input on our current findings and research direction in a panel teleconfer- ence, to be scheduled in early February. Following the teleconference in Task 3, we will further research opportunities for tools and develop more specific 2–3 page mini-proposals for individual tools. We will submit proposals as part of the Interim Report at the conclusion of Task 3. The remainder of this memo is structured as follows: • Interview Process • Interview Findings • Next Steps Interview Process We initially invited eighteen transit agencies to participate in the Task 2 process. Each transit agency was invited to participate in a one-hour interview, with the subsequent possibility of join- ing the User Focus Group to provide ongoing input to the project. We successfully interviewed thirteen of the eighteen transit agencies. We aimed to include a diversity of interviewees by geography, transit agency size, and maturity of sustainability program. Several panel members asked us to make a special effort to include more transit agencies in the Central and Eastern U.S. The team did identify additional contacts in those regions. However, due to non-response by a few transit agen- cies, our sample remains weighted towards the Western U.S. Nevertheless, we believe that A P P E N D I X D Task 2 Memo on Interviews with Transit Agency Sustainability Staff

Task 2 Memo on Interviews with Transit Agency Sustainability Staff 65 our sample provides an excellent starting point for identifying the needs of transit agencies because: • Transit agency size and maturity of the sustainability program are more important determinants of needs than geography. • Half of our thirteen transit agencies are small or mid-sized. • One third of our thirteen transit agencies have a sustainability program in an early or moder- ate stage of development. Figure D-2 shows the location of the thirteen transit agencies interviewed. Two are in the Eastern U.S., eight are in the West, and three are in the Central region. Figure D-1. Process for identifying needs and proposing tools.

66 Tools for a Sustainable Transit Agency Figure D-3 summarizes the stage of development of transit agencies’ sustainability programs. We use the following categories to assess sustainability program status: • Advanced: these transit agencies have comprehensive sustainability plans or policies and mature sustainability programs that have implemented a wide range of projects. They gener- ally consider themselves leaders in their peer group. • Moderate: these transit agencies have long been working to address sustainability and have implemented many sustainability strategies or projects, but have not created an agency-wide policy or program to integrate these efforts. Many of these transit agencies are currently working to develop an agency-wide sustainability policy or environmental management system. • Early stage: these transit agencies are in the early stages of identifying and implementing sustainability projects. They may be working to reboot past sustainability efforts that have gone dormant. Figure D-4 summarizes the size of the transit agencies interviewed, classified as follows: • Large: over 100 million unlinked passenger trips per year. • Mid-size: between 10 and 100 million unlinked passenger trips per year. • Small: less than 10 million unlinked passenger trips per year. Transit agencies at each stage provide different insights and needs for tools; thereby allowing the team to develop tools that will be used by transit agencies of all sizes and stages of develop- ment of sustainability programs. Table D-1 lists the transit agencies interviewed, as well as those that we contacted but that did not respond to requests for an interview, by region, size, and the status of their sustainability programs. Figure D-2. Location of interviewee transit agencies.

Next: Appendix D - Task 2 Memo on Interviews with Transit Agency Sustainability Staff »
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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.

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