The City of Atlanta, as part of the Renew Atlanta Infrastructure Bond and Special Project Local Option Sales Tax for Transportation (ReNew/TSPLOST), committed to improving the quality of its transportation infrastructure through the implementation of sustainability practices in design and construction. The vision was to utilize proven strategies that minimize impacts on the environment, including the depletion of irreplaceable resources. As ReNew/TSPLOST had a core mission to improve safety and mobility in the City of Atlanta, the leadership team sought to ensure that the projects incorporate the following traits:
Protect and enhance the environment
Conserve energy and natural resources
Preserve or enhance the historic, scenic, and aesthetic project setting characteristics
Encourage public involvement in the transportation planning process
Integrate smart growth and other sound land-use practices
Encourage new and innovative approaches to sustainable design
Improve upon equity and inclusion policies
2KB was engaged to develop a self-certification program that distinguishes transportation projects based on the extent to which they incorporate sustainable design choices. This internal management program allowed the City to measure performance, recognize good practices, and identify and improve where needed. However, it also provided the ReNew/TSPLOST team with a way to demonstrate to the public how sustainable practices were being advanced using taxpayer funds. ReNew/TSPLOST project designs would now be evaluated for sustainable practices, and an appropriate certification level, based on the total credits received, would be assigned to each project. Different project types would have different evaluation approaches that reflect an applicable set of eligible credits, and different certification thresholds based on those credit sets.
Over several weeks and dozens of meetings with project design and management teams, 2KB developed separate certification levels for Complete Street, Neighborhood Greenway, Sidewalk/Streetscape, Signal Coordination, and Roadway Projects. The rating systems recognize varying certification levels, with the highest level going to designs that clearly advance the state of sustainable transportation solutions.
Program guidance documents and project scorecards were delivered so that ReNew/TSPLOST could begin reviewing and score all new Preliminary Design Phase elements submitted after January 1, 2018. This certification program built upon other environmental initiatives already started by the City and represented a positive next step in a long-term commitment to evaluating and refining practices to encourage sustainable choices in project design.
The launch allows for flexibility as the Project and Program Management Teams conduct their respective review and evaluation processes. Now, as future best practices emerge and new innovative approaches are developed, including maintenance and construction considerations, they will be added to the program. The program is also a model for other City departmental sustainability initiatives, providing a benchmark to follow for incorporating greater levels of sustainability into public-funded projects.
Southface, Central Atlanta Progress, Midtown Alliance, Livable Buckhead, and the City of Atlanta
December 201 6 – December 201 7