In fall 2003, FTA initiated its Environmental Management Systems (EMS) assistance program to help transit agencies lessen their environmental footprint and, frequently as a result of those changes, save money. Participants receive assistance in the form of training, on-site technical support visits, electronic materials and resources, and consultation.
What is EMS?
An Environmental Management System (EMS) is a set of processes and practices that enables an organization to reduce its environmental impacts and increase operating efficiency. Public and private entities that have integrated EMS into their operations report an enhanced ability to analyze, control and reduce environmental impacts, comply with environmental regulations and operate with greater efficiency and control. The program provides transit agencies with technical support and guidance to develop an EMS using using standard 14001 of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
Benefits to Transit Agencies
Benefits of implementing an EMS have been reported by each participating transit agency and are documented in the final report for each of the training rounds. Environmental benefits include:
- Reduction in the number, type and severity of compliance incidents;
- Improved relationships with state and federal regulators;
- Pollution and waste quantify reductions;
- Recovered resources;
- Reduction of air emissions; and
- Reduction of amount of oil in waste water.
Business benefits reported by transit agencies include:
- Enhanced public image with system users and the general public;
- Reduced regulatory oversight;
- Improved employee awareness and efficiency of potential environmental impacts of work activities;
- Improved communications and cooperation through training and outreach;
- Increased management awareness of environmental issues;
- Reinforcement of environmental processes currently in place;
- Proactive management systems for environmental issues;
- Captures employee knowledge (“institutional memory”) prior to retirements;
- Documentation of standard operating procedures;
- Institutionalization of best practices in and permanent improvements of on-time performance;
- Increased fuel economy; and
- Cost savings
- National PEER Center effort to promote EMS implementation
- EPA website. Provides information and resources related to Environmental Management Systems (EMSs)
- International Organization for Standardization, information, publications and products
- Center for Environmental Excellence by AASHTO
- AASHTO’s EMS Implementation Guide