The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) recognized seven organizations 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.
Seattle’s Sound Transit received the prestigious Platinum Level recognition, the highest level of certification. It is only the second organization in the country to be recognized at this level. The two public transit systems receiving Gold Level recognition are Foothill Transit of West Covina, Calif., and Toronto’s Metrolinx. One business also received Gold Level status: IMPulse NC LLC. The three Bronze Level recipients were the Utah Transit Authority (UTA), Phoenix’s Valley Metro and TRC Companies Inc.
First started in 2009, 124 public transit agencies and businesses have now signed on to the APTA Sustainability Commitment Program. Currently, 30 of these signatories have received recognition, as determined by specific measured achievements.
"Sustainability makes good business sense and good environmental sense, “said APTA President/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."
Sound Transit advanced to Platinum Level recognition this year, the second public transit organization to attain the highest standard of sustainability achievement. Sound Transit has had many notable accomplishments, including cutting its greenhouse gas emission by nearly 20% while increasing unlinked passenger trips by 26% and passenger miles traveled by almost 30%. It also revised its specifications for concrete to allow for performance-based standards that result in mixes with lower embodied energy and greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, Sound Transit cut its waste by over 20%. Sound Transit was a founding signatory of the APTA Sustainability Commitment in 2009 and received Gold Level in 2012.
Foothill Transit advanced to Gold Level recognition this year for its significant accomplishments in the area of sustainability. With severe drought facing Southern California, Foothill Transit took the initiative to cut its water consumption by 30% to mitigate its impact on local and state water supplies. It also updated its bus washing equipment at both its bus maintenance facilities to reclaim 80% of wastewater via reverse osmosis, and used xeriscaping and drought-tolerant plants to reduce outdoor water use. In addition, Foothill Transit also committed to reducing the emissions of its vehicle fleet, which features fifteen rapid-charging electric buses and renewable biogas that fuels the remaining compressed natural gas vehicles. Foothill Transit was a founding signatory of the APTA Sustainability Commitment in 2009 and received Silver Level status in 2013.
GO Transit advanced to Gold Level recognition this year. GO Transit cut its water consumption by nearly 25% and stipulated that all new facilities meet LEED Gold-level certification. It also invested in on-site energy improvements such as a combined 250kw solar array across multiple facilities, a wind turbine at the Lisgar GO Station and co-generation systems at two bus facilities. Since 2009, GO Transit has managed its Active and Sustainable School Travel program, an initiative to encourage active transportation to school for children. Across participating schools, GO Transit observed a 7% increase in pedestrian trips and 747,700 additional minutes of walking among students annually. Previously, GO Transit achieved Bronze Level recognition in 2014.
IMPulse received Gold Level recognition this year, becoming only the second APTA business member organization to reach this distinction. As a manufacturer of overhead contact system hardware, IMPulse became conscious of its waste production and cut its waste production by nearly 85%. IMPulse designs its products to last almost thirty years and to be between 90% to 95% recyclable at the product's end-of-life. IMPulse NC LLC was a founding signatory of the APTA Sustainability Commitment in 2009 and achieved Bronze Level recognition in 2010.
The UTA achieved Bronze Level recognition in part for its reporting of carbon emissions to The Climate Registry, of which it is an original founding member. The Utah Transit Authority was a founding signatory of the APTA Sustainability Commitment in 2009.
Valley Metro achieved Bronze Level recognition in part for installing tinted windows on all of its vehicle fleet, including bus and light rail, to reduce their cooling load during the hot desert days. It also conducts paperless inspections of its bus fleet, which has reduced the agency's paper consumption by 158,000 sheets of paper annually. Also, Valley Metro has installed LED lighting in nearly 100% of its heavy duty buses, stations and facilities.
TRC Companies (TRC) achieved Bronze Level recognition for its integration of sustainability into their management structure. TRC's sustainability program is overseen by a cross-functional committee led by the company's sustainability director under the CEO's direction. It published its first sustainability report, highlighting the company's commitment, as well as its corporate strategy, to address its environmental footprint and improve employee wellness.