Sound Transit issues annual Sustainability Progress Report

Publish Date

Work during 2012 spanned most of the agency's projects and services

The Sound Transit Board today received its annual update on the agency's intensive efforts to incorporate sustainable approaches in planning, designing, constructing and operating transit services and facilities.

In 2012 Sound Transit experienced its most successful ridership year ever, with its approximately 28 million passenger boardings climbing 12 percent from the previous year. But Sound Transit's work for environmental sustainability doesn't stop with reducing pollution and congestion by moving people out of cars onto fast and reliable buses and trains. A Sustainability Plan the Board adopted in 2011 makes sustainability is a key consideration in just about everything the agency does.

"Sustainability is about making long-term investments and choices that leave future generations better off than we are today," said Sound Transit Board Chair and Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy. "It's at the core of our organization."

Among the 2012 accomplishments detailed on the latest Sustainability Progress Report:

  • Increasing Sounder commuter rail's fuel efficiency per mile of service by 4 percent
  • Maintaining fuel efficiency on ST Express buses while increasing the number of riders
  • Beginning efficiency upgrades at four transit facilities
  • Reducing water use at our maintenance facilities by 12 percent
  • Increasing recycling and composting at administrative facilities by 22 percent

Sustainability is an increasingly important factor in designing capital projects. The Angle Lake light rail station that Sound Transit will break ground on tomorrow will be a showcase of green design. Sustainable design principles have been an integral component of the project's requirements, from the initial bid process through final design. The project, which is the first application of the agency's strengthened sustainable design standards, features:

  • An efficient station footprint, reducing the volume of concrete and steel needed for construction
  • Solar panels to generate more than five percent of the station's energy needs
  • A rainwater harvesting system to meet 100 percent of irrigation needs
  • Public art installations featuring environmental themes
  • Contractor commitment to reducing air pollutant emissionsSound 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.

The progress report and information on the agency's sustainability efforts can be found at