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Suggested Citation:"1.0 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Social and Economic Sustainability Performance Measures for Public Transportation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25461.
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Page 10
Page 11
Suggested Citation:"1.0 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Social and Economic Sustainability Performance Measures for Public Transportation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25461.
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Page 11
Page 12
Suggested Citation:"1.0 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Social and Economic Sustainability Performance Measures for Public Transportation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25461.
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Page 12

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1 1.0 INTRODUCTION 1.1 SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION Transit systems provide critical services that help shape and connect communities. The fundamental purpose of transportation systems, including transit, is to meet human social and economic needs by “connecting them with goods, services, and opportunities that promote quality of life” (Fischer 2013, p 12). A sustainable transit system is designed, constructed, and operated in a way that fosters environmental stewardship, economic prosperity, and social wellbeing within the region it serves. Of the three responsibilities, environmental sustainability is more easily managed, measured, and reported by quantifying performance measures relating to energy use, waste generation and diversion, and water use. Social and economic sustainability is more challenging to quantify, and therefore, is often largely ignored and undermanaged. The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) has published several guidelines for the transit industry focused on environmental sustainability. APTA recognizes the key role that transit agencies can play in fostering healthier lifestyles, sound economic development and more livable communities, and recently published the Recommended Practice for Social and Economic Sustainability for Transit Agencies (2018). The document provides a framework for approaching economic and social sustainability, along with an overview of recommended practices. However, the document does not include performance measures, and APTA does not have other guidance regarding social and economic performance measures. This project has been developed to provide foundational guidance regarding social and economic performance measures to transit agencies. The APTA Recommended Practice for Social and Economic Sustainability for Transit Agencies (2018) identifies six critical elements that frame social and economic sustainability for transit agencies (community building and engagement, economic impact, employee workforce, financial, mobility and accessibility, and safety and emergency preparedness). APTA has identified the intended outcome, goals, objectives and specific recommended practices transit agencies can take to address social and/or economic sustainability. The elements are summarized below: 1. Community Building and Engagement (APTA 2018b, p. 2). Because transit agencies are largely and predominantly funded by taxpayers and transit users, community building and engagement should be a focus for transit agencies in order to understand and support the communities served by transit. Engaging diverse groups, creating hospitality, demonstrating goodwill, and committing to good design in the public realm are all important considerations in developing a positive relationship with the public. This helps transit agencies attract and retain riders, create a safer and more welcoming transit system and become part of a community’s identity. Key objectives for this goal element include community engagement, rider engagement and collaboration and partnerships. 2. Economic Impact (APTA, 2018b, p. 6). Transit access supports job creation, tax revenues, and opportunities for economic development. Key objectives for this goal element include measuring and communicating the economic benefits of transit, extending the economic reach of public transportation, understanding distributional effects on specific areas or groups, and politically leveraging economic benefits. 3. Employees and Workforce (APTA, 2018b, p. 8). In addition to following local, state, and federal laws and regulations, transit agencies can strive to create a positive environment

2 for employees. Key objectives for this goal element include a focus on employee recruiting, employee retention, and promoting organizational culture and workforce engagement. 4. Financial (APTA, 2018b, p. 11). Transit agencies provide reliable transit service by developing a sustainable business model. In many cases, reductions in operating expenses is necessary to ensure financial viability. Key objectives for this goal element include fiscal responsibility, making sustainable investments, and engaging in sound procurement strategies. 5. Mobility and Accessibility (APTA, 2018b, p. 14). Transit service enhances a community’s mobility by ensuring that transit riders are able to move about the community. In order for transit users to reach their destination, however, transit services must also be accessible – transit users must be able to overcome financial, physical, and other obstacles. Key objectives for this goal element include promoting affordability (for both housing and transportation), access, and multimodal connectivity. 6. Safety and Emergency Preparedness (APTA, 2018b, p. 18). Transit agencies can ensure that transit services promote safety, security, health, and welfare by following federal, state and local laws and regulations. However, engaging in safety and emergency preparedness also reflects agencies’ commitment to the long-term wellbeing of transit users and staff; it also protects transit agencies from unexpected costs due to delays and injuries. Key objectives for this goal element include promoting safety, security, and emergency preparedness. The APTA Recommended Practice for Social and Economic Sustainability for Transit Agencies (2018) identifies goals for each element. Table 1 illustrates the connection between the goals and social and economic outcomes – both internal (i.e., transit agency staff) and external (i.e., the traveling public and local communities). Table 1. Elements of Social and Economic Sustainability Goal Social Economic Internal External Internal External Community Building and Engagement: Engage diverse groups to improve transit service, create hospitality in customer service, and demonstrate good will through engagement techniques and commit to good design in the public realm. X X Economic Impact: Support the economic growth of our regions and the nation. X X X Employees and Workforce: Create a conducive and supportive environment for all employees. X Financial: Ensure the reliability of transit services through financial stability. X X Mobility and Accessibility: Make it easier for people of all abilities to affordably and reasonably access different goods and services to meet their daily needs. X X Safety and Emergency Preparedness: Ensure operations are safe and do not compromise the well- being of riders, staff or the public. X X X X Source: APTA 2018b, p. 2

3 1.2 PURPOSE OF THE GUIDANCE DOCUMENT This Guidance Document was developed as part of a Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) project: Social and Economic Sustainability Performance Measures for Public Transportation. The purpose of this Guidance Document is to help transit agencies use performance measures to plan, evaluate, continuously improve, and report on social and economic sustainability. The Guidance Document was developed to complement the APTA Recommended Practice for Social and Economic Sustainability for Transit Agencies (2018) and is designed as a practical tool to help transit agencies of all sizes develop social and economic performance measures that align with the transit agency’s social and economic goals and objectives. The primary objective of the project was to support APTA in developing social and economic sustainability performance measures by preparing a synthesis of existing measures. However, this Guidance Document is designed to provide guidance to all types of transit agencies, regardless of their affiliation with APTA. This Guidance Document has five chapters and five appendices. • Chapter 1 provides information on the purpose of the project and background on the APTA Recommended Practice for Social and Economic Sustainability for Transit Agencies (2018). • Chapter 2 summarizes the research conducted to evaluate the state of the practice, including key findings the literature review and interviews with select transit agency representatives. • Chapter 3 summarizes the process the research team used to evaluate the social and economic sustainability performance measures that were identified during the state of the practice review and presents the list of top social and economic sustainability performance measures. • Chapter 4 discusses strategies for operationalizing the performance measures within a transit agency. • Chapter 5 identifies areas for further research. • Appendix A: Literature Review Summary provides summaries of sources reviewed as part of the Literature Review • Appendix B: Interview Summaries provides summaries of the interviews with eight transit agency representatives • Appendix C: Performance Measure Evaluation Process describes the performance measure evaluation process conducted as part of this project in detail • Appendix D: Performance Measure Survey and Results provides a copy of the performance measure survey and the results of the performance measures survey given to the project panel and members of the APTA working group on social and economic sustainability • Appendix E: References is the list of sources referenced in this document Social and Economic Sustainability Performance Measures Database is a separate Excel®- based document that includes the complete list of social and economic performance measures identified as part of this project.

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TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) has issued a pre-publication version of TCRP Research Report 205: Social and Economic Sustainability Performance Measures for Public Transportation, which explores a practical tool to help transit agencies of all sizes develop and use social and economic sustainability performance measures to plan, evaluate, and report on social and economic sustainability.

A sustainable transit agency provides environmental, social, and economic benefits to the communities it serves. Transit agency efforts to quantify these benefits have focused primarily on environmental sustainability. The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) has developed guidance for transit agencies on how to use performance measures to quantify transit’s impact on environmental sustainability. APTA has yet to develop similar guidance to measure social and economic sustainability, which is the focus of this research project.

TCRP Report 205 is intended to complement the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Recommended Practice for Social and Economic Sustainability for Transit Agencies (2018). APTA’s Recommended Practice provides a framework for approaching economic and social sustainability, along with an overview of recommended practices; however, the document does not include performance measures, which are a key component to reporting progress and gauging success.

The report is presented with a companion Excel workbook that can be used by transit agencies to develop their own initial list of performance measures. The workbook includes 606 social and economic sustainability performance measures, as well as 93 transit service performance measures.

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