Sound Transit Board directs implementation of Sustainability Plan

Publish Date

Plan will take agency's commitment to sustainability to the next level.

The Sound Transit Board today continued its leadership in advancing sustainable business practices by directing the implementation of an agency Sustainability Plan.

The plan outlines how the agency will implement and fund sustainability efforts across all activities related to planning, designing, constructing and operating transit services and facilities. It establishes long-term priorities and provides a roadmap for how actions will be accomplished as Sound Transit delivers major transit investments across the region in the years ahead.

Sustainability is a key guiding principle to improve our region's quality of life as communities, the natural environment, and the economy are challenged by diminishing natural resources and the impact of global climate change. Sustainability is about making long-term investments and choices that leave future generations better off than we are today.

"Sound Transit offers residents throughout our growing region the opportunity to reduce their environmental footprints by climbing aboard our buses and trains. However, our contributions don't end there," said Sound Transit Board Chair and Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon. "We are committed to making sustainability a core factor in everyday operating decisions."

"Sustainability should be part of our core mission as a transit agency, continuously striving to become more earth friendly," said Sound Transit Board and King County Council member Larry Phillips. "Providing green public transportation options is a big part of environmental sustainability, but it also includes promoting transit-oriented development around our stations, reducing energy use and air pollution, protecting natural habitat, and conserving natural resources."

The Sustainability Plan, available at, will build on the agency's work since 2004 to respond to this global challenge. Sound Transit is one of a handful of transit agencies nationwide that maintains Environmental Management System certification under standard 14001 of the International Organization for Standardization (, undergoing annual independent audits for compliance with standards.

The Federal Transit Administration has offered significant support for Sound Transit's efforts. In 2003 the FTA initiated a program to help Sound Transit and a number of other agencies develop and implement environmental management systems. An environmental management system (EMS) is a set of procedures to ensure that an organization's daily operations comply with environmental regulations and can also support environmental stewardship objectives. Some of Sound Transit's efforts to date have addressed fuel conservation and renewable energy; energy efficiency; greenhouse gas emissions; water conservation; toxics reduction; procurement; waste prevention, re-use and recycling; building and facility performance; and land use.

In 2004 the Sound Transit Board adopted an Environmental Policy guiding the agency in increasing its focus on sustainability. In 2007, the Board authorized the chief executive officer to establish a Sound Transit Sustainability Initiative and report progress to the Board on integrating sustainable business practices and strategies throughout the Agency. Since then the agency has achieved more than 100 sustainability targets. Sound Transit tracks its goals and progress and provides annual progress reports to the Board and public.