In the United States, transportation infrastructure is lagging significantly behind the commercial and residential building sectors in environmental sustainability. Although we have an internationally recognized standard for determining that a building was designed and built and is being maintained according to various measures of sustainability (LEED green building certification), there is no universally accepted method for transportation infrastructure.
With the 40th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22 and the Obama administration committed to a more environmentally friendly transportation policy, this is a good time to discuss how the transportation industry can meet the challenge of creating a greener infrastructure. Yet political pressures and powerful interests often can stifle the formation, implementation and funding for such initiatives.
Does the transportation industry have the appetite to create a system for measuring the sustainability of transportation infrastructure? What might it measure? And how would the climate change debate and the administration's livability initiative factor into the development of such a system?