Texan by Nature 20 Awards: CapMetro recognized for conservation efforts

Welcome to the CapMetro blog, where we regularly highlight CapMetro’s many offerings and its best-in-class workforce.

CapMetro’s continuing commitment to conservation has been recognized with a statewide award.

The agency learned this week it was named a Texan by Nature 20 (TxN 20) recipient, joining 19 other Lone Star State businesses cited as the best of the best when it comes to protecting the environment.

Other recognizable names on the 2022 list are a handful of Austin-based firms, including tech giant Cirrus Logic and Yeti, maker of trendy coolers, thermoses, koozies and more. See the full list here.

The TxN 20 list first debuted in 2019, with a focus on 12 industries. CapMetro is being honored in the midsize Transportation category.

“Sustainability is central to the mission of CapMetro and is reflected as a core value,” said Dottie Watkins, interim CapMetro president and CEO. “Sustainability is built into our commitment to the region and the community of Central Texas as a guiding principle of Project Connect. Some of the objectives include building an all-electric fleet, using renewables like solar and wind as major sources of energy, and using the most advanced systems to reduce water use and waste in all operations.”

The CapMetro board and members of the Executive Management Team lead the sustainability charge, which filters down to employees throughout the organization.

CapMetro has focused in recent years on acquiring vehicles with multiple features to help further conservation and sustainability efforts:

Zero-emission CapMetroBuses

  • North Operations Center can currently accommodate 180 electric buses
  • Currently 12 electric buses in service; 200 more on the way in the next four years

CapMetroBikes

  • System improved and expanded
  • Bike racks on each CapMetroBus; bike hooks on CapMetroRail
  • Transit facilities connected to bike trails
  • Gold rating from League of American Cyclists Bicycle Friendly Business since 2016

Zero-emission CapMetro fleet vehicles

  • Electric fleet vehicles for operations staff, including several Nissan Leafs, with more on the way

“This recognition by TxN validates that we are on track and leading the industry in sustainable and operational practices that truly make a difference,” said Rob Borowski, CapMetro’s sustainability officer. “TxN brings together people and organizations of all types to implement real solutions – making this recognition even more powerful. It is both an honor to be selected, and a challenge to us to keep innovating.”


>> READ: CapMetro’s Sustainability Vision Plan


Examples of long-term conservation methods undertaken by CapMetro include:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions: Carbon neutral by 2040, consistent with the City of Austin Climate Equity Plan
  • Zero waste: 90 percent reduction of waste to landfills by 2040, consistent with the City of Austin Zero Waste Strategic Plan
  • Water and nature: Sustainably manage water resources and enhance nature and natural systems through conservation and green infrastructure. 
  • Sustainable buildings and infrastructure: Use sustainable design guidelines and rating systems (Envision, Austin Energy Green Building, LEED) to guide all capital projects. 
  • Equity and livable communities: Leverage transit resources to enhance sustainability, connectivity and access to opportunities; and create livable places, especially in historically disinvested communities. 

Short-term objectives are embedded in CapMetro operations and projects through these action areas: 

  • Energy: Reduce the energy used in our current facilities and operations through a comprehensive energy management program. Renewable energy is the first choice. 
  • Sustainable and zero-emission fleet: Transition all revenue and non-revenue fleets to zero-emission. 
  • Water and natural world: Assess all assets and properties for opportunities to conserve, restore and enhance natural areas, improve biodiversity, increase native plants and protect watersheds and water resources. 
  • Zero waste and natural resource management: Manage operations to reduce the amount of waste generated and prioritize options, such as surplus using, repurposing, asset management, organics management and recycling.
  • Green buildings and infrastructure: Design all new buildings and capital projects to prioritize the highest practical environmental and sustainability performance and to support net zero carbon goals within the established timeframes.
  • Environmental and sustainability management: Reestablish and implement an Environmental and Sustainability Management System (ESMS) that supports our goals to reduce climate footprint, reduce environmental impact and improve facility resiliency.  

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Spooky Bus Season is Here

Halloween is this weekend and all great statisticians of our time estimate that 99.9% of participants wait until the last minute to choose their costume. Lucky for you, we’ve put together a few ideas that are sure to leave an impression at any Halloween shindig you choose to attend.

Here are some options suitable for both kids and adults … modeled by CapMetro buses of course.

Frida Kahlo

Looking to make a strong, colorful statement this year? Get to work on that flower crown and       break a heart or two as Frida Kahlo! Keep your colors bold and bright; dig through that wild necklace collection; and finally get some use out of that shawl you bought on a whim. Growing a unibrow is optional, but rosy, red cheeks and eye shadow are a must. However you bring the look together, be fierce and carry on the powerful spirit of one of the world’s most fearless artists.

Cruella de Vil

Earlier this year, Disney’s Cruella showed a bit of a softer side to the absurdly vain and fashion-obsessed villain from the 101 Dalmatians film canon. This new depth and backstory provide breathing room for just how much attitude you serve others while in character around the punch bowl or on an evening strut around town. You can find a cheap wig or dye half your hair; the gaudier the (faux) fur coat, the better; and don’t forget that pop of red on some long gloves or heels. Bonus points if you add in a well-behaved pooch. We hear Austin Pets Alive has plenty up for adoption!

Minecraft

A fun art project for the little ones, pixelating yourself could be a lesson in color theory, geometry, cubism or … ah heck who are we kidding? Add some blockiness to your world by bringing one of the most popular video games to life! Cardboard boxes are the name of this costume game. Create just a head or go all out with arms and legs. There are plenty of props that can be incorporated — swords, armor, food, banners — just remember to keep them all square!

Bob Ross

With this costume idea, you have an important choice to make: poofy curly-haired wig or full-on real deal perm? Are you as committed to this look as Bob Ross was to the idea that everyone can paint beautiful landscapes? The costume is a relaxed fit — jeans and a light blue dress shirt. You can complete the look by carrying a paintbrush and palette or really dive in and set up an easel in the corner of the party and painting a beautiful depiction of the scene around you. Be efficient in your methods though — running time for a single episode of Ross’ The Joy of Painting was just 30 minutes. Running time for that perm is 3 to 6 months.

Where’s Waldo?

This highly recognizable costume is sure to have everyone looking your way. Though the lovable Waldo does his best to blend into his surroundings, you’re sure to stand out at the function in this costume. A red and white striped shirt is easy to come by or create on your own with some fabric paint; pop out the lenses on any round rim glasses from a thrift store (unless they happen to be your prescription, then free specs!); bust out your beanie collection a little early and there you have it! Just make sure your group doesn’t lose you at the end of the night. Plan ahead — make sure your group has a meetup plan and a safe ride home.

5​ ​Halloween​ ​Costume Ideas from CapMetro

Halloween’s a coming and you gotta get it right, we know. CapMetro’s focused on serving the customer, and so we’re here to help in whatever way we can.

And, so, here’re some options for you next week! (Modeled​ ​by​ ​CapMetro​ ​buses​ ​themselves,​ ​naturally …)

Homemade Ghost

Ghost BusA cheap costume that somehow never gets old. While there are lots of ghosts to choose from throughout the history of pop culture (Casper, Slimer, Samara, etc.), there’s something so simple and classic about just cutting some eye holes in a white sheet, throwing it over your head and calling it a day. And hey, if it’s good enough for Charlie Brown and Michael Myers, then it’s good enough for us all.

Scoops Ahoy, from Stranger Things

Scoops Ahoy BusAfter the release of the third season of Stranger Things, you can bet we’ll see a bunch of its most iconic costumes out in the streets. And while you might think the Scoops uniform would be pretty easy to recreate, good luck replicating Steve “The Hair” Harrington’s luscious locks. No amount of volumizing shampoo or lifting spray can clone those genetics. We know. Life just ain’t fair.

Daniel Johnston Homage

Hi How Are You BusAssuming you don’t have the vocal and/or songwriting chops, there’s no better way to pay homage to Daniel Johnston than a shout out to his Hi, How Are You frog. A pioneer of lo-fi sound and a staple of the Austin music scene, there’s bound to be a few out there “Walking the Cow” in honor of this legend.

Detective Pikachu

Pikachu BusYou don’t need to be a detective to know that Pikachu will be the cutest costume this season. Double points to the dude who turns his Pokémon costume into a pun by carrying around a bowl of yellowfin tuna, thus evolving into the ultra-rare “Poké Man.”

Classic Zombie

PRM 191001 DT Sponsored Content Halloween BusesJust like the genre itself, zombie costumes will never stay dead. Come Halloween night, we’ll be sure to see a bunch of Tallahassees, Wichitas and other “insert iconic city names” roaming the streets. But after a night of imbibing, don’t join the heard of the walking drunk. Just “Double Tap” the CapMetro App and hop a safe ride home.