Goal 1: Greenhouse Gas (GHG) & Criteria Air Pollutants

SEPTA produces GHG emissions from the daily combustion of carbon-based fuels and purchase of fossil fuel-based electricity. But as a provider of mass transit, SEPTA also displaces emissions by taking cars off the road and supporting compact land use patterns. The net result of SEPTA's GHG impact is a reduction in emissions by a factor of three - for every unit of greenhouse gas that SEPTA emits, three units are displaced throughout the region. SEPTA's GHG performance is hindered in part by heavy use of electricity for propulsion, for which GHG emissions are high compared to those of peer transit agencies due to the carbon-intensive fuel mix of local electricity generation. While generation continues to become cleaner, SEPTA can grow its position as a net emissions displacer by reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions along three metrics: GHG emissions per vehicle mile (VM), per revenue vehicle hour (RVH), and per passenger mile traveled (PMT).

Key Performance Indicator:

  • Goal: 5% annual improvement (Reduction in lbs CO2-e per VM, RVM, PMT; increase in GHG Benefit Multiplier)
  • Baseline Year: 2009

goal 1 table

Initiatives:

  • Implement Energy Action Plan
  • Alternative Energy Vehicle Procurement
  • Low-NOx/High Efficiency Boilers
  • Climate Adaptation Assessment (To Be Published: September 2013)
  • On-Site Power Generation

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Goal 2: Water Use & Pollutant Discharge

SEPTA's current water use is metered at over 300 separate locations, providing a useful-but incomplete-picture of water consumption throughout the system. Between 2006 and 2009, consumption costs at these stations, shops, garages, and administrative locations increased by an average of 6.7 percent per year to the current cost of $1.9 million. But the nature of water bills is changing, transitioning from a simple cost of consumption to a more comprehensive model that accounts for a property's stormwater runoff. This new price structure gives SEPTA two areas for improvement: reducing its water consumption and its impervious surface footprint.

Key Performance Indicator:

  • Goal: 10% improvement by 2015 (Reduction in Gallons per VM, RVM, PMT)
  • Baseline Year: 2009

Initiatives:

  • Sustainable Stormwater Retrofits Program
  • Vegetation in Design of 69th Street Transportation West Bus Terminal Retrofit Project
  • Partnership Tree-Planting Projects
  • Audit Vehicle Washer Systems

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Goal 3: Energy Intensity

SEPTA depends on energy for every aspect of its operations, from powering railcars and buses to heating stations and illuminating track signals. The fuel and power needed to move SEPTA's vehicles and run its facilities represents eight percent of the agency's operating budget, 4.5 million mmBtu in overall usage. In all, SEPTA's energy consumption rose by 1.5 percent between 2006 and 2009, but changes in energy use vary greatly by sector. Fuel consumption for building heat, for example, rose 7.6 percent each year over that period, while vehicle energy use grew by less than one percent annually. Trends in energy consumption can be tracked against trends in operating performance through the metric of energy intensity, or consumption per vehicle mile. This breakdown demonstrates how targeted initiatives, such as greater integration of hybrid-electric buses, can minimize changes in energy consumption while enabling SEPTA to expand its operations.

Key Performance Indicator:

  • Goal: 10% improvement by 2015 (Reduction in kbtu per VM, RVM, PMT)
  • Baseline Year: 2009

goal 3 table

Initiatives:

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Goal 4: Waste Management

Across the system, SEPTA produces a variety of waste streams ranging from purely municipal to hazardous and non-hazardous industrial waste. Producing waste, aside from filling landfills and contributing to environmental degradation, comes with a direct cost: the contracts SEPTA lets for waste removal exceed $1 million annually. For these reasons, SEPTA is better managing its waste flows through a waste minimization program at maintenance facilities and through the resale of scrap materials and waste oil. Still, insufficient data exists to adequately track and manage waste flows.

Key Performance Indicator:

  • Goal: 20% waste diversion
  • Baseline Year: 2011

Initiatives:

  • Compact Recyclables
  • Customer-Friendly Receptacles
  • Recycling at Regional Rail Stations
  • Additional Waste Minimization/Diversion Strategies

From The Journal:

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