Tools for a Sustainable Transit Agency

The topic of sustainability is expansive, including environmental, economic, and social concerns. Many transit agencies have established sustainability programs and provide examples of how to structure a program, develop a plan, and implement sustainability strategies. Other transit agencies have a high level of interest in improving their sustainability, but have not yet established a robust program. In fact, as APTA’s sustainability commitment grows (from 40 signatories originally to 100+ signatories today), the need for tools to establish and promote sustainability programs also grows. Even transit agencies with more mature sustainability programs are in a continual state of improvement. TCRP Synthesis 106: Energy Savings Strategies for Transit Agencies expressed both an interest in how best to integrate sustainability into an agency’s governance structures and some of the challenges for doing so. For example, 48 percent of survey respondents found internal expertise to be a barrier to strategy implementation and 23 percent said that achieving decision maker/stakeholder support was an issue. An improved understanding of how to fully integrate sustainability into transit agency decision making and operations could help transit agencies overcome these barriers. Tools dedicated to establishing and improving sustainability programs at transit agencies would provide a central resource on sustainability and would supplement the resources provided by APTA and other organizations interested in sustainability. The tools would also enable transit agencies to measure the impacts of sustainability projects and programs. Research is needed to provide transit agencies with valuable sustainability principles and tools that they can adapt to their particular situations (e.g., depending on agency size, level of experience with sustainability, analytical capabilities, and existing organizational structure, etc.). Although the research would not take the place of detailed studies tailored to an individual transit agency, it would provide a more advanced starting point for all transit agencies. The results of such research would therefore provide opportunities for transit agencies to optimize staff time and money, while enhancing their ability to improve environmental, economic, and social sustainability. The objective of this research is to develop tools to address how environmental, economic, and social sustainability objectives can be established and implemented by transit agencies. The tools should help transit agencies formulate, plan, finance, and integrate agency-specific sustainability strategies that improve transit performance and the livability and vitality of their communities. The research should provide transit agencies with information and ready-access to methods, tools, and examples of best practices to fully develop and implement a sustainability program. The final report and accompanying tools have been approved for publication and will be published in early 2018.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project H-53

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Transit Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    Transit Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001
  • Project Managers:

    Schwager, Dianne

  • Performing Organizations:

    ICF International

  • Principal Investigators:

    Galivan, Frank

  • Start Date: 20151023
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20171022
  • Source Data: RiP Project 38989

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01551871
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project H-53
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Jan 28 2015 1:00AM