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WTS-Boston April Luncheon

April 27, 2015 01:12 PM
Andrew Brennan, MBTA Director of Environmental Affairs speaking at WTS-Boston April Luncheon

by Lisa Weber (Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation) and Arzu Kurkoglu (Hatch Mott MacDonald)

Speaker: Andrew Brennan, MBTA Director of Environmental Affairs
Topic: Sustainability in Transportation Projects in the Commonwealth

On April 16, 2015, Andrew D. Brennan, Director of Environmental Affairs for the MBTA, gave an illuminating presentation regarding Sustainability in Transportation Projects in the Commonwealth.  Mr. Brennan described to the attendees how the MBTA is dedicated to providing safe, reliable, world class public transportation in an environmentally sound and responsible manner. He explained that sustainability is defined as the ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

The MBTA has been recognized nationally for its sustainability efforts. The MBTA signed on to  the APTA Sustainability Commitment in 2012 and through a strategic focus on sustainability has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 23 percent per passenger trip and increased its greenhouse gas savings by 9 percent. The emissions avoided by the MBTA are equal to the emissions associated with the energy consumed by 83,468 homes. Electricity and fuel use improved by 12 and 15 percent per passenger trip, respectively, from 2009 to 2012. Since 2012, the MBTA has purchased 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.

The MBTA participates in the GreenDOT Program, under the direction of MassDOT, which seeks to make all transportation related projects, operations, and policies more environmentally friendly. In addition, the MBTA has committed to all future construction meeting Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) guidelines. These design standards focus on energy efficiency, water management, renewable energy, land use, selection of sustainable materials, and recycling. For example, the new Hingham Ferry Terminal will include geothermal heating, an efficient carbon-free heating system, and many other sustainable features. 
Sustainability also means addressing climate change issues – both in taking steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as in establishing and utilizing design standards to protect transit assets and community infrastructure.

Director Brennan explained that one of the main goals for transportation sustainability is to encourage and enable mode shift from driving to walking, biking, or transit.  The MBTA’s service area enjoys a high level of transit utilization, but continues to seek to expand options for residents to use healthier and more environmentally better options.   One such project is the Green Line Extension (GLX) which will bring transit access to the residents of Somerville, Cambridge and Medford. Somerville is among the densest populated cities in the region yet does not have adequate transit options. With the Green Line extension, Somerville’s residents will enjoy not only expanded transit opportunities, but expanded bicycle and pedestrian alternatives for commuting and general mobility. With the GLX project, the MBTA is focused on mode shift in particular in terms of new transit station locations, but also with improved bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.

Mr. Brennan noted that Dr. Beverly Scott, outgoing General Manager for the MBTA, played an active and vital role in developing consensus within the agency and beyond for the development and implementation of the sustainability projects. These programs will continue into the future as demand for transit services continues to increase, and projects such as GLX continue to deliver expanded services in a truly sustainable manner.
WTS-Boston Secretary Carrie Rocha thanked Mr. Brennan for his presentation and for the good work being accomplished by the MBTA.


Loretta Girard Doughty (HDR), Dr. Beverly Scott and Carrie L. Rocha (Michael Baker International)


Andrew Brennan, MBTA Director of Environmental Affairs





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