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Transit Sustainability Guidelines: Framework for Approaching Sustainability and Overview of Best Practices

This Recommended Practice introduces guidelines for designing and operating sustainable transit that both reduces a community’s environmental footprint from transportation and enhances its quality of life by making travel more enjoyable, affordable and timely.

Designing and operating sustainable transit requires a new way of thinking. For the transit industry to achieve true sustainability, it must take a holistic approach toward what a transit agency can and should contribute. Improving transit systems’ performance and integrating transit with community development is more vital to sustainability than simply reducing the environmental footprint of agency facilities. A transit system can consist of the greenest of earth-friendly, energy-efficient facilities and fleet, but it does little good if it is not used. An empty bus cannot be a sustainable bus. If transit doesn't succeed in integrating with and serving the community, it can be an environmental and economic burden and even a scar on the landscape. These guidelines cover a wide spectrum of sustainability in regard to transit.