With its re-engineered Comprehensive Program Update, the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) specifically and explicitly incorporates sustainability into its transportation investment decisions. This collaborative decisionmaking process ensures that NYSDOT's investments support future quality of life and the economic well-being of New York State residents. NYSDOT's Comprehensive Program Update incorporates the sustainability triple bottom line of economic competitiveness, social equity, and environmental stewardship in its investment decisions through its “Forward Four” guiding principles: Preservation First; System Not Projects; Maximize Return on Investments; and Make It Sustainable.
NYSDOT re-engineered the Comprehensive Program Update process to address the current declining conditions of New York's transportation infrastructure and funding uncertainty. The situation demanded that NYSDOT think critically about its ability, over the long term, to reliably maintain and support travel, commerce, and economic growth. The primary focus of NYSDOT's sustainable Comprehensive Program is to preserve critical linkages using appropriate preservation treatments at the appropriate time in the life of an asset. As part of its Comprehensive Program Update, NYSDOT incorporated the overarching need to consider sustainability both from program/system-wide and project level perspectives. The Comprehensive Program Update's sustainable approach to programming considers the value of the State's assets, including how these assets benefit the public, the economy, and the environment now and for the future.
To encourage more sustainable programming, NYSDOT established a more comprehensive Asset Management Framework to support consistent decisionmaking with a focus on preservation and sustainability. The Framework includes measures of accountability to ensure that the State optimizes its return on investment and long-term public benefits. As part of the effort, NYSDOT established statewide and regional asset management teams to address pavement, structure, safety, modal, and sustainability needs. The Sustainability Asset Management Team is enabling NYSDOT to look at transportation infrastructure needs beyond the typical asset management perspective and to consider economic and community needs and context as well as the natural environment.
The mission of the Sustainability Asset Management Team is to integrate sustainability into NYSDOT decisionmaking by educating and equipping NYSDOT employees with the knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to make sustainability part of the agency's culture. NYSDOT's sustainability vision is to exemplify how transportation supports a sustainable society by advancing environmental stewardship, economic competitiveness, and social equity in transportation decisions and actions.
New York State's Sustainability Asset Management Team serves as a model for other States as they work to incorporate the triple bottom line into their transportation investment decisions. By improving its decisionmaking process and taking action now, NYSDOT is ensuring that its decisions support the future quality of life and the economic well-being of New York State.
For more information, contact Debra A. Nelson, New York State Department of Transportation, at Debra.Nelson@dot.ny.gov.