Public Transportation Organizations Recognized for Their Sustainability Achievements

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 Public Transit Industry Committed to Sustainability

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) recognized seven 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 achievement, organizations were presented Gold, Silver, and Bronze level certifications by APTA Chair Peter Varga at the APTA Sustainability and Public Transportation Workshop which is being held at the Omni Parker House Hotel in Boston, MA.  

The organizations receiving Gold Level recognition were Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (Urbana, IL), Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (Boston, MA), Metro Transit (Minneapolis, MN), and the Société de Transport de Montréal (Montreal, Canada).  Lane Transit District (Springfield, OR) received a Silver Level Recognition. The two Bronze Level recipients were GO Transit (Toronto, ON) and Stacy and Witbeck, the first construction firm to receive this honor, for the sustainability efforts at its Portland, OR office and four project field offices.

“Congratulations to our newest sustainability champions!  Public transportation promotes healthy, vibrant, sustainable communities across the country, and these organizations have taken it to the next level,” said APTA Chair Peter Varga.

Started in 2009, 121 public transit agencies and businesses have signed on to the APTA Sustainability Commitment Program. Currently, 24 of these signatories have now received recognition, as determined by specific measured achievements.

“The public transportation industry is committed to sustainability,” said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy.  “These new recipients are shining examples of how public transportation organizations are making a difference in implementing processes and actions that create continuous improvements in environmental, social, and economic sustainability.”

Below are some examples of the sustainable accomplishments that this year’s recipients have achieved.   

GOLD Level -- Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (CUMTD) – Urbana, IL
CUMTD was a founding signatory of the APTA Sustainability Commitment in 2009. The agency underwent Environmental and Sustainability Management System (ESMS) training through the Federal Transit Administration, integrating tracking of sustainability metrics throughout the organization.

A focus on transitioning to cleaner vehicles – a shift from 9 percent diesel-electric hybrids in 2009 to 45 percent hybrids in 2012 -- led to a decrease of 46 percent in criteria air pollutant emissions per vehicle mile traveled (VMT) and a 10 percent improvement in greenhouse gas emissions per VMT. A focus on facility energy use, including the installation of a geothermal heat pump in 2010, has reduced energy use at facilities by 20 percent per unlinked passenger trip (UPT).


GOLD Level - Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) – Boston, MA
The MBTA joined the APTA Sustainability Commitment in 2012 and through a strategic focus on sustainability has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 23 percent per UPT and increased its greenhouse gas savings by 9 percent. Electricity and fuel use improved by 12 and 15 percent per UPT, respectively, from 2009 to 2012.  Since 2012, the MBTA has purchased 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.

At the state level, the MBTA participates in the GreenDOT Program, under the direction of MassDOT, which seeks to make all transportation related projects, operations, and policies more environmentally friendly, while at the agency level, the MBTA has committed to all future construction meeting Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) design guidelines.


GOLD Level - Metro Transit – Minneapolis, MN
Metro Transit began its focus on environmental stewardship in 2006 and has adopted environmental responsibility as one of six Guiding Principles.  Metro Transit signed the APTA Sustainability Commitment in 2013. Metro Transit has taken a comprehensive approach to reducing consumption of natural resources both within its facilities and on board its buses and trains. This includes building automation retrofits, energy-efficient lighting, geo-thermal climate controls and the completion of a 40-kilowatt, rooftop solar array at its Light Rail Support Facility. A 40-kilowat solar array is also included in a 1,000-space Park & Ride opening in August 2014. These efforts reduced Metro Transit’s purchased energy by 40 percent between 2008 and 2012. Metro Transit also reduced its water usage by 77 percent between 2009 and 2012 and saw improvements in fuel efficiency.


GOLD Level - Société de Transport de Montréal (STM) – Montreal, Canada
STM joined the APTA Sustainability Commitment in June 2014.  The agency has placed sustainable development at the center of all decisions through its strategic plan, leading to impressive improvements in resource use and energy efficiency.

STM has been recognized for its continued commitment to sustainable procurement, clean fuel vehicles, and sustainable construction practices. Among STM’s signature policies are an initiative to pursue LEED certification for all new buildings, as well as a policy to reduce emissions by purchasing only electric vehicles by 2025. Additionally, air pollutant emissions per produced seat mile (PSM) decreased by 43 percent from 2006-2012, coupled with a 17 percent reduction in electricity use and a 7 percent reduction in fuel use per PSM over this period.

SILVER Level - Lane Transit District (LTD) – Springfield, OR
LTD has achieved Silver-level recognition by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 3 percent, waste by 7 percent, as well as an impressive 42 percent improvement in facility energy use per vehicle mile. Supporting these efforts are wise purchasing decisions, energy efficient facilities upgrades, and an expansion of recycling measures and composting measures. LTD is implementing an Environmental and Sustainability Management System, and is committed to including sustainability into construction phases of capital projects in the future.

BRONZE Level - Metrolinx (GO Transit) – Toronto, Canada
GO Transit has achieved Bronze-level recognition through a thorough accounting of its resource use. GO Transit integrated requirements for energy efficiency into procurement documents for capital projects, and recently completed one LEED Silver-certified and three LEED Gold-certified bus maintenance facilities, as well as one LEED Gold-certified rail station.  Furthermore, the agency has developed a Corporate Energy Management Plan and established four Energy Management Teams, one in each operating group, that together are responsible for 99 percent of Go Transit’s energy consumption.

BRONZE Level - Stacy and Witbeck (SWI) – Portland, OR
SWI achieved Bronze-level recognition at its Portland, OR main office and four project field offices, including construction activities, by promoting  sustainability in numerous ways, including: recycling training upon the beginning of each new project in Oregon; soliciting feedback from project office and field crews regarding progress and methods of improvement on regular intervals; and a quarterly newsletter distributed throughout the company detailing new sustainable construction activities and recycling practices on projects in Portland, OR, among others.

SWI has accomplished the impressive task of both cataloguing and working to improve resource use in its offices, reducing paper use by 50 percent and purchasing energy from renewable sources, while also completing an inventory of greenhouse gas and criteria air pollutant emissions for its sizable on- and off-road vehicle fleet in construction use.

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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.

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