LEED for Transportation?

LEED for Transportation?

Is there an organization similar to USGBC's LEED that is applicable to sustainable transportation planning?

Gil:
Not that we know of -- if you mean similar to the LEED green building certification and rating system. Maybe -- if you mean an organization promoting sustainable transportation planning. Definitely -- if you mean principles by which to evaluate and design sustainable transport systems.

SusTran's Guiding Principles for Sustainable Transportation offers eight principles:
  1. Access. People are entitled to reasonable access to other people, places, goods and services.

  2. Equity. Nation states and the transportation community must strive to ensure social, interregional and inter-generational equity, meeting the basic transportation-related needs of all people including women, the poor, the rural, and the disabled.

  3. Health and Safety. Transportation systems should be designed and operated in a way that protects the health (physical, mental and social well-being) and safety of all people, and enhances the quality of life in communities.

  4. Individual Responsibility. All individuals have a responsibility to act as stewards of the natural environment, undertaking to make sustainable choices with regard to personal movement and consumption.

  5. Integrated Planning. Transportation decision makers have a responsibility to pursue more integrated approaches to planning

  6. Pollution Prevention. Transportation needs must be met without generating emissions that threaten public health, global climate, biological diversity or the integrity of essential ecological processes.

  7. Land and Resource Use. Transportation systems must make efficient use of land and other natural resources while ensuring the preservation of vital habitats and other requirements for maintaining biodiversity

  8. Fuller Cost Accounting. Transportation decision makers must move as expeditiously as possible toward fuller cost accounting, reflecting the true social, economic and environmental costs, in order to ensure users pay an equitable share of costs.
But translating principles into ratings is a challenging process. The LEED ratings are the result of years of multi-stakeholder process to hammer out initial consensus -- and then ongoing work to revise and to develop variations. The S-BAR Sustainable Business Rating System that we are currently involved in developing faces the same challenges in dealing with the even more complex universe of business. Rating sustainable transportation is bound to be complex as well, given the need to be adaptive to highly varied regional conditions and requirements.

Here are some suggestions for further reading:

Issues in Sustainable Transportation (PDF) offers a proposed list of sustainable transportation indicators, as does Well Measured: Developing Indicators for Comprehensive and Sustainable Transportation Planning (PDF).

Green Car Congress covers the ongoing evolution of sustainable mobility, with an additional weekly update at Worldchanging.com.

The SusTran Web site offers links to a wealth of other resources, as do...

As always, a Wikipedia visit is a good idea too.

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Gil Friend, systems ecologist and business strategist, is president and CEO of Natural Logic, Inc. -- offering advisory services and tools that help companies and communities prosper by embedding the laws of nature at the heart of enterprise. Sign up online to receive his monthly column via email. Read Gil's blog here.