An interactive sustainability website has been developed through a research project, and expressions of interest are being sought from organizations that can own and operate the website moving forward. The website includes more than 900 sustainability practices; education modules; a personal workspace to save unique sustainability plans; and opportunities for users to connect, contribute information, and share their experiences. The research project was undertaken by the Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP), which is managed by the Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Although the website was originally designed for airports, the information it contains is applicable across all industries (about 80 percent of the sustainability practices are not airport-specific). The website is called the Sustainable Aviation Guidance Alliance (SAGA) and is accessible at the following link: http://www.airportsustainability.org. Ownership and operation of the SAGA website would provide the potential owner with the opportunity to manage a sustainability tool that could enhance academic institutional offerings, support sustainability rating system development, increase knowledge and awareness of sustainability principles and practices, and contribute to furthering sustainability planning and implementation. The website is designed to support all levels of sustainability achievement, whether an organization is just starting to think about sustainability or already has an established program. The educational modules help users define sustainability, explore methods to plan and measure sustainability, and learn about stakeholder engagement. The SAGA website provides information for all types of users and includes practices in energy, climate, engagement and leadership, human well-being, water, waste, economic performance, design, and materials. After the website was developed, a successful year-long beta test was conducted by making it available to airport industry practitioners. During the beta test, the site received more than 31,000 visits; 123 registered users; and several contributions of information in the form of new practices, technical information for existing practices (e.g., cost, payback period, social benefits), case studies, documents, and comments. In addition, the resources available on the website, such as lists of key performance indicators and metrics, templates for action and monitoring plans, a catalog of potential stakeholders, and a library of user-added documents, were downloaded over 1,300 times. Feedback from the beta test will continue to be incorporated into the website during the search for the next owner and operator.
Following is background information on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; the TRB; the ACRP; as well as the process used to update the SAGA website.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (http://www.nationalacademies.org/index.html) are private, nonprofit institutions that provide independent, objective, expert advice on some of the most pressing challenges facing the nation and the world. Their work helps shape sound policies, inform public opinion, and advance the pursuit of science, engineering, and medicine.
The Transportation Research Board
The TRB (http://www.trb.org/) is one of six program units of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. It provides credible, high-quality information and research results to practitioners, researchers, public officials, and other professionals as they address the transportation challenges of the 21st century.
The Airport Cooperative Research Program
The ACRP (http://www.trb.org/ACRP/ACRP.aspx) provides practical solutions to the challenges faced by airport industry practitioners. It is one of six mode-based cooperative research programs managed by TRB. The ACRP is authorized by Congress and sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Each cooperative research program strives to maintain balance and objectivity through the use of panels of topic experts representing key disciplines and perspectives.
Update of the SAGA Website
In 2010, the ACRP Oversight Committee (its governing board) approved a multi-year research project to enhance the SAGA website. This website was originally established by industry volunteers to assist airport operators looking to begin a sustainability program or incorporate sustainable practices into their projects and operations. As with the original development of the website, the update effort included participation by airport practitioners and industry associations and agencies, including Airports Council International—North America (ACI-NA), the Airport Consultants Council (ACC), the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), Airlines for America (A4A), and the FAA. The efforts associated with the update are being undertaken by a consulting team led by CDM Smith, Inc. On March 25, 2015, the beta-test version of the enhanced SAGA website was made available to the public; it is temporarily being hosted on the ACI-NA servers. This version allows all users to learn about sustainability principles, search the website’s comprehensive database of sustainable practices using various criteria, plan or improve their sustainability program, and measure their sustainability progress. Registered users can share their sustainability experiences by adding practices and enhancing existing practices through the addition of case studies, documents, comments, and technical information (e.g., cost, payback, social benefits). Recognizing that ACRP’s primary purpose is conducting research, it is not in a position to host, maintain, and govern the SAGA website. The purpose of this request for expressions of interest, therefore, is to identify qualified entities that can assume ownership, operation, and maintenance of the SAGA website.
The objective of this effort is to transfer the SAGA website from the ACRP to a permanent owner who will maintain and enhance the website, promote its use, and ensure the website remains an objective resource—free from the biases of special interests, per the principles of National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, as described above.
STATUS: A request for expressions of interest for owing and hosting the SAGA website was issued on in the spring of 2016. The panel and SAGA task force interviewed the sole submitter via teleconference on June 3, 2016 and confirmed their selection. The process for transferring ownership should be completed by the end of 2016. http://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/trbnetprojectdisplay.asp?projectid=3031