Environmental Management Systems Training and Assistance

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Background

In the fall of 2003, FTA initiated its EMS assistance program to help certain transit agencies develop and implement an EMS, using standard 14001 of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) (http://www.iso.org/). Participants in the program receive assistance in the form of training workshops, on-site technical support visits, electronic materials and resources, and consultation. Round 3 of the EMS program was completed in September 2012.

What Is EMS?

An Environmental Management System (EMS) is a set of processes and practices which enables an organization to reduce its environmental impacts and increase its 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 to operate with greater efficiency and control.

Benefits to Transit Agencies in Adopting an EMS

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; and
  • Increased fuel economy.
  • Cost savings

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