Sustainability Through Regional Transit Programs

July 29, 2008

The built environment is the single largest determinant of how we travel. The way we've designed our communities has resulted in the number of miles Americans drive growing three times faster than the U.S. population since 1980, and almost twice as fast as vehicle registrations. As a result, transportation is the second largest and fastest growing contributor of greenhouse gases (GHG) of any sector in the United States. By reducing travel and congestion on roadways and supporting more efficient land use patterns, public transit is a powerful tool for regions looking to reduce GHG emissions from transportation.

For public transit to succeed, however, our built environment must be designed to support transit. In this program, Fred Hansen described how coordinated transportation and land use planning can result in compact, efficient cities that are easier to serve with non-automobile transportation modes. He also documented what transit providers are doing to "green" their own operations, further enhancing their regions' sustainability. Hansen shared lessons learned from his experience leading Portland, Oregon's regional transit authority, while also drawing on examples from across the industry. He also discussed a number of initiatives and partnerships being undertaken by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) to further heighten the industry's sustainability.

PDF of PowerPoint Presentation (pdf)


Fred Hansen

Long before Fred Hansen joined TriMet in October 1998, he was an avid public transit user and advocate. In fact, during his tenure as deputy administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Washington D.C. (the number two person appointed by the President with protecting the nation's environment), Hansen left his car in Oregon and relied on transit. Hansen's interest in transit and TriMet was sparked by his passion for environmental issues and smart public policy. Making a career in public service, Hansen directed the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality for more than 10 years before heading to the EPA. A native of Beaverton, Oregon, Hansen attended Sunset High School, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Oregon, earned a master's degree from McMaster University and completed a year of doctoral work at the Johns Hopkins University.