The purpose of this paper is to describe a pilot application of the Sustainable Transportation Analysis & Rating System (STARS), and highlight how a sustainability rating system…
The purpose of this paper is to describe a pilot application of the Sustainable Transportation Analysis & Rating System (STARS), and highlight how a sustainability rating system can be used to promote sustainable urban development through a university–city partnership. STARS is an example of a second-generation “green” rating system focused on transportation planning, design, operations and maintenance.
In Fall 2013, James Madison University (JMU) initiated a STARS pilot demonstration using a local corridor that connects the university and the city of Harrisonburg. The pilot’s purposes were to develop attainable transportation-development targets, evaluate infrastructure and programmatic options in the context of a credit-based system and demonstrate a decision-making framework centered on sustainability optimization. The paper provides an overview of the STARS framework and the pilot’s collaborations, analysis, findings and recommendations for credits across sustainability dimensions.
Upon applying the rating system, the research team found that STARS may initially be easier to integrate into a comprehensive transportation planning process than a corridor-level evaluation due to data needs, in-house expertise and planning timelines for campus and city developments. A campus-wide master plan based on STARS would enable a university and a city to apply sustainability principles to their physical and/or policy interfaces to systemically create change and achieve quantifiable targets.
The STARS framework provides a novel approach for integrating multiple stakeholders (faculty, the university and city staff, students and community members) in a process of capacity building, evaluating options, policy-making, implementation and performance monitoring. The JMU pilot is the first application of STARS at a university and the only US East Coast application to date.