Meeting Environmental Program Goals at U.S. Public Transit Agencies: A Study of APTA Sustainability Commitment Signatories
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Transit agencies have a favorable impact on a region’s overall sustainability and air quality because they reduce use of personal automobiles. However, public transit vehicles have a considerable impact on air quality too. The American Association of Public Transit (APTA) has established a sustainability program to address this issue. This study uses survey research to determine whether organizational, industry, and financial barriers for signatories of the APTA Sustainability Commitment are impacting their organization’s ability to meet their environmental program goals. Overall, this study finds that the barriers identified in the conceptual framework of barriers were not insurmountable at these organizations. Although in all barrier categories an overwhelming majority of respondents did not agree that barriers were affecting their programs, there was a high level of neutral responses to many questions, indicating that further research may be warranted to find out what can be done to further reduce the barriers to meeting environmental program goals in the industry. The results of the survey indicated that there were fewer barriers present than expected after conducting the literature review. Since the survey population only included organizations that are signatories of the APTA Sustainability Commitment, this may be an indication that the support provided by APTA for the signatories is having a positive effect on these organizations meeting their environmental program goals. More research is needed on a random sample of all U.S. public transit agencies to determine whether these results are applicable outside of those organizations supported by the APTA sustainability program.