(Sustainable Transportation Analysis and Rating System)
STARS (Sustainable Transportation Analysis and Rating System) is being designed as a voluntary transportation project planning and evaluation tool similar to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for building projects. STARS is still in the development stage and is expected to be fully operational in 2011. Although other scorecard type systems have been developed for transportation projects, STARS is taking a more comprehensive approach to incorporating a broad array of sustainability measures that cover the entire life cycle of the project.
The RTC is collaborating with a team of STARS developers in the Pacific Northwest, using the Highway 1 High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lane project as a test bed for developing 12 credits of a total of 28 planned to comprise the fully operational STARS program. Through this process, the RTC is looking for ways to:
- Improve access opportunities for people and goods
- Maximize the benefit-to-cost ratio of potential project strategies
- Reduce transportation-related climate and energy pollution
The focus of STARS is on access, rather than mobility. Access is mode-neutral and assumes that there are multiple ways to meet a community’s needs (e.g., compact communities, transit, virtual communications, driving). The purpose for using STARS for the Highway 1 HOV project is to:
- Clarify which project elements and potential strategies produce the greatest access, climate and energy, and cost-effective benefits
- Identify which project elements can be improved
- Incorporate elements into the project that better meet the performance goals over the full life cycle
- Provide a deeper understanding of potential benefits and costs of project options.
In 2010, the RTC-approved Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) selected 12 credits to pursue and discussed their applicability to local projects. A STARS Pilot Project Application Manual (version 1.0) provides the basic framework about the sustainability evaluation process, an understanding of the four core credits (Integrated Process, Access, Climate, and Energy and Cost Effectiveness) and descriptions of the remaining credit options. This document is a work in progress and will be amended as new credits are developed. STARS is being developed by the North American Sustainable Transportation Council — comprised of transportation professionals in both the public and private sectors, academics, and LEED professionals. An article in the Daily Journal of Commerce in April 2010 featured information about STARS. The newsweekly Good Times, included a piece on the local STARS initiative as part of its cover story on environmental issues in May 2011.
Senior Transportation Planner