The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) recognized five organizations today for their outstanding sustainability achievements which have met specific criteria through the APTA Sustainability Commitment program. Public transit agencies and businesses that voluntarily participate in the APTA Sustainability Commitment program commit to implementing processes and actions that create continuous improvements in environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Depending on the level of accomplishments, organizations are presented Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze Level certifications.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (San Francisco, CA) and TransLink (Vancouver, BC) received the prestigious Platinum Level recognition, the highest level of certification, and are now two of only four organizations to be recognized at this level. Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (Portland, OR) received Gold Level recognition and SYSTRA (New York, NY) received Silver Level recognition. Rounding out the list of recognized signatories is the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (Atlanta, GA) with Bronze Level recognition.
First started in 2009, the APTA Sustainability Commitment Program now features 132 public transit agencies and businesses that have signed on as signatories. Currently, 32 of these signatories have received recognition, as determined by specific measured achievements.
“Sustainability makes good business sense and good environmental sense,” said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy. “Congratulations to these organizations which are models of sustainability excellence. Their leadership in implementing sustainable practices makes their communities better, greener places to live.”
Below are some examples of the sustainable accomplishments that this year’s recipients have achieved.
PLATINUM Level – San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) – San Francisco, California
SFMTA advanced to Platinum Level recognition this year, becoming one of only four public transit organizations to attain the highest standard of sustainability achievement. In a period of extreme drought in California, SFMTA cut its water consumption by 25 percent to mitigate its impact on depleted local and state water resources from 2010-2013. The agency also cut its criteria air pollutant emissions by nearly 96 percent and cut fuel costs by 25 percent during the same three year period, thanks to efforts in operating one of the largest biodiesel bus fleets in the country, which runs on recycled cooking oils and grease from San Francisco small restaurants and residential collection centers. SFMTA’s biodiesel initiatives are also the agency’s primary tool in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by over 36 percent since 1990. SFMTA was a founding signatory of the APTA Sustainability Commitment in 2009 and received Gold Level recognition in 2013.
PLATINUM Level – South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority (TransLink) – Vancouver, Canada
TransLink advanced to Platinum Level recognition this year, becoming one of four public transit organizations, and the first in Canada, to attain the highest standard of sustainability achievement. The agency had many notable accomplishments, including a nearly 60 percent increase in its recycling rate and 20 percent decrease in water consumption since 2010. TransLink conducted a Climate Change Vulnerability Study to examine the resiliency of its system and now uses the findings to inform the project prioritization criteria in its asset management model. In 2013, the agency moved its head office to a LEED Gold-certified building located in a SkyTrain transit-oriented development, featuring elements such as a green and solar-reflective roof to mitigate urban heat island effect. TransLink was a founding signatory of the APTA Sustainability Commitment in 2009 and received Gold Level recognition in 2011.
GOLD Level – Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) – Portland, Oregon
TriMet received Gold Level recognition in part to incorporating sustainability into the new MAX Orange Line and achievements in targeted indicator reductions. The Orange Line incorporated impressive sustainability elements such as functional habitat along a section of project track bed, regenerative braking at the SE Tacoma St/Johnson Creek station, the incorporation of active transportation elements in station design and access, and solar photovoltaic installations at almost every station platform. TriMet also realized a 13 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions per revenue mile since 2009.
Thanks to improvements in TriMet operating and service efficiency, the agency saw a nearly 35 percent increase in savings of greenhouse gas emissions per passenger trip. This helps the region meet its targets for reducing emissions while improving connections to jobs, education and services. TriMet was a founding signatory of the APTA Sustainability Commitment in 2009.
SILVER Level – SYSTRA Consulting, LLC – New York, New York
SYSTRA received Silver Level recognition this year in part to its efforts in reducing material good consumption and in its electricity consumption. SYSTRA employees and office visitors consumed up to 1,300 gallons of bottled water on an annual basis until the company shifted to in-line filters, which greatly reduced the embodied energy and waste associated with bottled water. By using DocuSign, an online paperless internal approval process system and electronic invoicing, SYSTRA greatly reduced its paper consumption. Additionally, server upgrades helped SYSTRA reduce its electricity consumption by more than 11 percent from 2014 – 2015.
BRONZE Level – Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) – Atlanta, Georgia
MARTA received Bronze Level recognition in part to its efforts in demonstrating a spirit of continuous improvement and desire to further commit to agency sustainability. While not required for Bronze Level recognition, MARTA increased its recycling rate by more than 7 percent. The agency implemented a waste management program and conducts audits of its waste stream and generation. MARTA also has a program to replace its old fleet with CNG vehicles. MARTA was a founding signatory of the APTA Sustainability Commitment in 2009.
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The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of 1,500 public and private sector organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed passenger rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. APTA is the only association in North America that represents all modes of public transportation. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical transit services and products. More than 90 percent of the people using public transportation in the United States and Canada ride APTA member systems.