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1 Sustainability has been defined in numerous ways and applied in numerous contexts, but it has consistently represented the nexus of environmental stewardship, economic development, and social responsibility. The airport industry has built on these three components and integrated a fourth to define sustainability as the combined emphasis on economic vitality, operational efficiency, natural resources, and social responsibility (sometimes known as EONS). Within these frameworks, some airports have developed customized sustainability definitions that reflect their own values and objectives. Embrac- ing a sustainability approach impacts all aspects of airport operations, and oftentimes, a capacity-enhancing project provides an important opportunity to maximize the benefits of sustainability and engage stakeholders in visible and meaningful ways. As sustainability is a broad concept, and capacity-enhancing projects can take several different forms, the ways in which the two interact vary from one project to another. For instance, economic development can be demonstrated through job creation from an airport enhancement project such as a new terminal. Operational efficiency can be demonstrated by streamlining systems to obtain higher throughput of aircraft and passengers. Natural resource preservation can be demonstrated through efficient waste management and reuse of con- struction waste on a new runway project. Social responsibility can be demonstrated through clear, defined, and committed collaboration with community members on proposed airport development projects or facility improvements that provide local jobs, training, and business contracts. While sustainability and capacity enhancements interrelate in different ways, it is important to discern the value of incorporating sustainability into projects and to ensure that airport staff have the guidance necessary to be successful in these endeavors. The objective of this synthesis report is to compile information and examples that successfully demonstrate the value of building sustainability concepts into capacity- enhancing projects, and describe further resources and tools that provide guidance on how to select, apply, and communicate sustainability measures. The intended audience is air- port leaders and their teams working on capacity-enhancing projects. In particular, airport decision-makers seeking further understanding of the value of including sustainability are encouraged to review the report. A common thread throughout the report is an emphasis on the unique ways airport staff worked to embed sustainability concepts or measures into the project, and ensured that communication with core stakeholders led to the projectâs success. Additionally, the report provides examples of sustainability efforts building on themselves; lessons learned from one initiative are carried through to the next, and this progressive learning process can enhance sustainabilityâs role in capacity-enhancing projects over time. Personnel from seven commercial service airports were interviewed (a) to learn how they integrate sustainability with capacity-enhancing projects, (b) to identify the resulting S U M M A R Y Sustainabilityâs Role in Enhancing Airport Capacity
2 Sustainabilityâs Role in Enhancing Airport Capacity benefits, and (c) to understand how they communicate their sustainability efforts. Through the interviews, the Research Team sought to capture the story of how and why sustainabil- ity was incorporated into the projects and glean insights into the role sustainability played in garnering stakeholder support for the projects. The featured projects showcase diverse strategies used to address capacity needs. The information from the interviews was supple- mented with existing literature on the role of sustainability in capacity-enhancing projects, and methods to successfully engage airport stakeholders. This report captures findings from the research related to sustainability benefits, effec- tive strategies and practices for integrating sustainability concepts into airport projects, and research observations that were validated through the literature search. The projects fea- tured in this report illustrate some of the sustainability benefits resulting from capacity- enhancing projects. The potential benefits vary from project to project. Cost savings was identified as a key benefit of integrating sustainability efforts during capacity-enhancing projects. Savings can result from reduced operating cost, increased employee retention and productivity, reduced operations and maintenance costs, increased reuse or conservation of resources, and avoided environmental mitigation costs. Additional benefits include an enhanced reputation, regulatory cooperation, lower emissions, waste reduction, increased revenue flows, increased operational efficiency, and enhanced connectivity with stakeholders. The interviews and literature search revealed effective strategies and practices for integrating sustainability concepts into airport projects. Framing sustainability as a mechanism to make smarter business decisions and to mitigate risk can help garner the attention of executives and decision-makers. Involving a broad representa- tion of airport departments in the early stages of project planning can mitigate future delays with project development and imple- mentation. Establishing community liaisons, drawn from each air- port department and appointed by their peers to coordinate and facilitate community involvement, can help anticipate and manage stakeholder conflicts (Amaeshi and Crane 2006). Adopting a âgood neighborâ strategy can avoid community opposition to projects by addressing major issues of concern, to the extent possible, while still meeting commercial objectives. In addition to minimizing adverse effects, it is also important for airports to maximize the social and economic benefits of continuing growth and target efforts in communities with the greatest need or communities most affected by airport operations (Upham et al. 2003). Additionally, utilizing tools such as checklists or matrices facilitates the effective application of sustainability practices. The interviews revealed many research observations that were validated through the literature search. When growth outpaces capacity, airports staff can face dissatisfied customers as a result of issues such as congestion and delays. Airport development to accommodate forecasted growth can lead to new challenges such as environmental impacts or lack of com- munity buy-in. However, enhancing capacity can have positive community impacts such as providing job opportunities, fast and secure intermodal transportation, and increased tour- ism (Koc and Durmaz 2015). A culture of sustainabilityâin conjunction with robust sus- tainability policiesâleads to successful integration of sustainability within capacity-enhancing projects and airport business practices. Sustainability is supported by incorporating multiple perspectives and establishing the communityâs stake in the airportâs development. While sometimes accompanied with a higher upfront cost, incorporating sustainability can save the airport money from a life-cycle cost perspective. Sustainability encourages innovation and can be used to frame solutions to complex problems. There are several viable approaches, but ultimately no all-encompassing model or tool kit for effective stakeholder participation Framing sustainability as a mechanism to make smarter business decisions and to mitigate risk can help garner the attention of executives and decision-makers.
Summary 3 existsâit depends on a variety of place-specific social, economic, and environmental criteria (Thomas and Lever 2003). The Research Team developed a draft, preliminary sustainability checklist as a precursor to a comprehensive checklist for airport staff to use in the context of capacity-enhancing projects (see Appendix A). In addition, existing resources and tools have been compiled into a convenient table to guide airport personnel seeking to integrate sustainability concepts within capacity-enhancing projects (see Appendix B). The list of interviewees and the inter- view questions appear in Appendices C and D, respectively. Appendix E is an executive-level PowerPoint presentation that conveys the âwhyâ behind incorporating sustainability into capacity-enhancing projects. Appendix E can be found on the TRB website (www.trb.org) by searching for âACRP Synthesis 93.â Finally, the interviews and literature search revealed knowledge gaps in areas that war- rant further research. Future research efforts could include revisiting a prototype airport sustainability rating system developed previously; creating a user-friendly, comprehensive sustainability checklist; or developing a sustainability benefit-cost framework. Research on identifying, quantifying, and conveying economic, social, and operational efficiency value could also be beneficial. Additional research could include surveying and interviewing com- munity stakeholders or airline representatives on how their perceptions of an airport have evolved as it embraced sustainability, or conducting an analysis of airport sustainability initiatives comparing the impacts of a âbusiness as usualâ scenario with the net impacts of the initiatives. Further research could also include interviewing current or former airport leaders about how they successfully implemented a sustainability approach.