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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Happy Trails To You…

Cap Metro President/CEO Linda S. Watson (right), Austin City Councilman Chris Riley (center) & Bike Austin Executive Director Tom Wald (left)
Cap Metro President/CEO Linda S. Watson (right), Austin City Councilman Chris Riley (center) & Bike Austin Executive Director Tom Wald (left)

The evolution of Capital Metro’s commitment to a walkable, bicycle-friendly, connected region continued Friday, August 02, 2013 as the urban trail connecting Crestview and Highland stations officially opened. The nearly one-mile long trail, created in conjunction with the City of Austin, connects transit hubs, businesses and the forthcoming Austin Community College (ACC) Highland Campus.

“The Crestview/Highland trail is really about connections and Capital Metro has been working hard to develop a comprehensive regional system, through efforts like Project Connect, to address the needs of a growing region,” said President/CEO Linda S. Watson. “Providing sustainable, safer transportation options like this trail extend the reach of the transit system and encourage healthy habits that will improve the quality of our communities. It also means we can offer more choices for people to get out of traffic and navigate the community in other ways.”

Joined by partners including the City of Austin, who displayed a demo of the forthcoming bike share program, Bike Austin, Bike Texas and CAMPO, the event showcased the best of what collaboration can do to create meaningful, useful solutions for everyone.

Also attending the trail opening were the Texas Rollergirls (who have their season-ending bout on August 10th. If you take Cap Metro to the Austin Convention Center for the finale, you can still receive $5 off at the door), Movability Austin, and Commute Solutions. Additionally, the Mexic-Arte Museum and Creative Action contributed with “art bikes” to help celebrate.

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Continue reading “Happy Trails To You…”

2012 Earth Day Is Coming: How Are You Involved?

Earth DayEach year, we get one special day to celebrate Mother Earth and get involved in how we can help take care of our planet and be more eco-friendly.

This year, that special day falls on April 22.

So how will you be involved?

If you still don’t have plans, we’ve got you covered. So, keep reading…

At Capital Metro, being earth-friendly and staying “green” is important to us. And, we take pride in the fact that as a public transportation agency, we help reduce harmful air emissions and carbon-footprints by facilitating people riding together each day–not alone in their cars. Continue reading “2012 Earth Day Is Coming: How Are You Involved?”

Ozone Season: What You Can Do

Clean Air Force

Spring in Texas is in full bloom and although you might want to jump in the car and take some pictures with Bluebonnets on the side of the road, you should know Ozone Season has officially started and will stick around with us until late October.

But, don’t let that get you down because there are things you can do to stay safe and help out the environment during this year’s Ozone season.

Yesterday, Mayor Lee Leffingwell joined the CLEAN AIR Force of Central Texas at Austin City Hall to mark the beginning of the Ozone Season and speak with the public about reducing air emissions starting now and continuing throughout the summer.

 “We are urging Central Texans to pay extra attention to ozone alerts and air quality levels this Ozone Season. Basically anything that limits your driving or electricity use will help make a positive difference in the quality of air we are breathing,” said Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell.

Just as Mayor Leffingwell said it, it’s our #1 recommendation this Ozone Season too — limit your driving and help out the environment. By using Capital Metro, one of the best things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint is to ride public transit instead of taking a personal car. Continue reading “Ozone Season: What You Can Do”