The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District's (MTD) Environmental and Sustainability Management System (ESMS) was certified September 23 by Lloyd's Register Quality Assurance to ISO 14001:2004 standards. MTD began work to achieve this certification in 2011 when it enrolled in the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) ISO 14001 EMS Institute at Virginia Tech University. MTD is only the sixth transit provider in the country, and the only transit provider in Illinois, to have its program certified.
The International Standards Organization (ISO) 14000 family of standards addresses various aspects of environmental management; ISO 14001:2004 deals specifically with environmental sustainability and management systems. These management tools enable an organization to control the environmental impact of its activities and represent a structured approach to setting environmental objectives and targets. Fulfilling the requirements of the standard demands objective evidence which can be audited to demonstrate that the environmental management system is operating effectively in conformance with the standard. Benefits include higher conformance with legislative and regulatory requirements, improved efficiency, minimized risk of regulatory and environmental fines, reductions in waste and consumption of resources, and better internal controls.
Lloyd's Register Quality Assurance (LRQA) conducted the certification audit of MTD's program. LRQA is the world's leading provider of independent assessment services and is recognized by over 50 accreditation bodies. LRQA personnel visited MTD several times and conducted a complete external audit of the program. The boundary, or fence line, for the audited program is the Maintenance Facility and grounds at 803 East University in Urbana. The site includes a fueling station, bus wash, body shop, light and heavy maintenance bays, a machine shop, tire shop, parts storage, and bus overflow storage. Approximately 53 people are directly engaged in the delivery of these services. While the Maintenance Facility encompasses the fence line for the ISO 14001:2004 standard audit, MTD's environmental commitment is company-wide as espoused in the Environmental Policy adopted by the MTD Board of Trustees on March 30, 2011.
MTD staff worked industriously to take what was learned at the Virginia Tech EMS Institute and turn it into a certified program. Bob Herbert, the Institute's lead instructor, enthusiastically said that "CUMTD is among an elite group of progressive public transit agencies adopting and achieving independent third party certification on implementation of ISO 14001 Environmental and Sustainable Management System. CUMTD's use of ISO 14001 demonstrates an innovative and forward thinking approach." Antoinette Quagliata, Environmental Protection Specialist at the Federal Transit Administration added, "I would like to congratulate the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District on achieving ISO 14001 Certification--it is something the whole agency can take pride in! While FTA's [EMS Training and Technical Assistance] program is based on the ISO 14001 standard, certification is not required. So it is an achievement indeed when an agency such as CUMTD voluntarily decides to carry their EMS commitment to the next level and pursue certification."
MTD Board Trustee Willard Broom, who was heavily involved during the process, believes "the Certification represents an important commitment by MTD to the community. Through a lot of effort, MTD has built an organization that is committed to the highest standard of environmental stewardship and sustainability. Meeting this standard not only means MTD is a responsible member of the community in this regard, it also creates continuous procedures to insure that such will be the case in the future. Every member of the MTD team is involved in this sustainability commitment."
MTD is the public transportation provider for Champaign, Urbana, Savoy, and the University of Illinois. MTD riders took more than 12 million trips last year instead of using single-occupancy vehicles. CUMTD's ESMS, validated by the LRQA certification, is evidence of MTD's commitment to excellence in all facets of its operations. The ESMS Program's Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle and the LRQA ongoing auditing program ensure that MTD's ESMS will continuously improve and that MTD will continue to lead by example as we advocate for environmental sustainability.