Sound Transit’s sustainability program earns “platinum” recognition

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Agency is one of only two nationally to receive the American Public Transportation Association’s highest environmental stewardship ranking

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Sustainability Program today advanced Sound Transit from “gold” to “platinum” recognition level for its demonstrated commitment to sustainability. Sound Transit is the second transit agency in the country to receive platinum level recognition from APTA. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority was the first to earn the recognition in 2013.

“The environmental benefits of Sound Transit don’t end with providing commuters an alternative to sitting in traffic,” said Sound Transit Board Chair and King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Environmental stewardship is part of everything we do – from running cleaner buses and trains to creating energy efficient buildings.”

“Sound Transit has worked diligently since 2009 to develop sustainability targets and maintain high sustainability standards for project design and construction,” said Sound Transit Acting CEO Mike Harbour. “APTA has been a strong partner in helping us establish meaningful targets that improve the environmental profile of our projects, services and agency culture.”

“Congratulations to Sound Transit for their extensive and significant sustainability achievements,” said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy. “As only the second public transit organization to receive Platinum Level recognition, Sound Transit is a leader in sustainability excellence that other organizations should model. The citizens of Seattle should be very proud of Sound Transit’s achievements in helping Seattle become a more sustainable community.” APTA’s announcement is available at apta.com.

The platinum level recognition recognizes the degree to which Sound Transit’s sustainability program is integrated into the organization. Core requirements include making sustainability a part of the organization’s strategic objectives, and identifying a sustainability champion within the organization. Establishing an outreach program on sustainability and undertaking a sustainability inventory of the organization are also core tenets of the program.

The transit agency is on a short list of transit agencies nationwide practicing or pursuing an internationally certified (ISO 14001) Environmental and Sustainability Management System for controlling any environmental impacts, maintaining environmental compliance and demonstrating improvements in performance. Environmental Management System certification under standard 14001 of the International Organization for Standardization is sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration.

In addition to achieving these core requirements, Sound Transit improved its performance on a number of key sustainability indicators and accomplished more than 40 significant sustainability actions. The agency strengthened design criteria to address sustainability and applied Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building standards to stations and facilities. As a result, the agency is on track to earn its first LEED Silver Certification for its South 200th Link Extension Angle Lake Station. Sound Transit is also working to monitor and enhance the use of green ingredients in its concrete mixes, where applicable, to reduce the energy and greenhouse gas emissions that goes into the materials used in its projects.

On the operations side, Sound Transit has implemented a number of facility energy and water efficiency projects. It is also one of the first transit agencies in the country to initiate a smart-driving pilot that educates ST Express bus drivers on fuel efficient driver techniques. The agency is also working to secure transit operations for years to come by developing a climate adaption assessment to ensure the system remains resilient to climate change.

The APTA Sustainability Commitment award recognizes organizations in the public transportation industry for their work preserving the environment, reducing waste, modeling social responsibility and helping bolster economic vitality in the regions they serve. APTA has four levels of recognition: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. To reach each level, agencies must show that they are maintaining an effective environmental compliance program and making continuous sustainability improvements. The Platinum status indicates the agencies that have robust institutional programs and make continual and significant improvements in their management of natural resources, including energy, air pollutants, greenhouse gas emissions and water.

The American Public Transportation Association is a large trade association of public and private organizations engaged in public transportation work throughout North America. APTA began its Sustainability Commitment program in 2009 to support the adoption of economic, environmental and social sustainability principles in the public transit industry and define the contributions of public transportation to sustainability and livability objectives.

Sound Transit was recognized today at the APTA Sustainability Conference in Portland, Ore.

More information on the agency’s sustainability efforts, including its sustainability plan, goals, and progress reports, can be found at http://www.soundtransit.org/sustainability.