RTA receives key honor for sustainability work

 RTA receives key honor for sustainability work

Feb 22, 2016

CLEVELAND -- The Central Bus Maintenance Facility of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) has received an official ISO 14001 Certification for its Environmental and Sustainability Management System (ESMS).

RTA is already benefitting from the improvements made at the facility at 2500 Woodhill Road, Cleveland. For instance:

  • RTA implemented a program to replace Lead Acid Batteries with Absorbed Glass Mat Batteries in more than half of the RTA bus fleet. This improved battery maintenance, and reduced the waste stream of scrap metals, cardboard, paper and used rags over the last two years. RTA saved and avoided more than $260,000 in operating costs.

RTA officials will use what they have learned at the building to focus on environmental and sustainability management in other key RTA buildings, including the Triskett Bus Garage in West Park, and the Hayden Bus Garage in East Cleveland.

The eight-member ESMS core team included RTA staff from Engineering, Central Bus, Operations, Sustainability, Safety, Fleet Management and Employee Training and Development. The team was headed by Mike Schipper, Deputy General Manager, Engineering and Project Management.

The certification is in line with RTA's Mission, Vision, Values statement, which reads:

"We will be a champion for sustainable transportation, not only in reducing miles driven by private automobiles, but also by reducing waste and emissions and conserving resources. We will achieve the triple bottom line -- people, profit and planet."

"We are an environmental steward and partner in key strategic sustainability initiatives in Northeast Ohio," says Valarie J. McCall, Chair of the American Public Transit Association (APTA), and an RTA Board member. "Developing and implementing an ESMS throughout RTA is a logical progression."

To begin this effort, the Board adopted a comprehensive Sustainability Policy in 2010, followed by an Environmental Policy and Sustainability Commitment in 2013 and in 2014, says RTA Board President George F. Dixon III.

"Our goal is to create a healthier and more livable environment for our employees and our customers," Dixon said. "We are taking steps to reduce pollution and continually improve our environmental footprint on the region."

In 2013, RTA was one of 10 transit agencies throughout the country selected to participate in the Federal Transit Administration's ESMS Institute at Virginia Tech. The Core Team received four intensive ISO 14001 training sessions, which they applied to the Central Bus Maintenance Facility ESMS.

“Our goal is to emphasize continual and measurable improvement in performance and efficiencies throughout our operations by establishing an ISO 14001 compliant ESMS,” said Joe Calabrese, RTA CEO and General Manager.

“We are creating a high-performance culture, focused on action, accountability and quality management. We’re focused on environmental initiatives, such as emissions reduction, air quality improvement and waste diversion, while determining and reducing RTA’s carbon footprint. This is certain to improve the environment for the community we serve, while providing long-term economic benefits to RTA,” Calabrese said.

How RTA uses alternative fuels.

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