“Sustainability pertains to the responsibility of an entire generation of society to future generations; whether it can meaningfully be applied to a single area of human activity such as transportation has been a subject to debate. That is, sustainability must be satisfied by the integral activities of a society and so, in this sense, it is not possible to judge whether on the sector of society is sustainable on its own,” – Greene.
In the articles on the topic of the critical role of sustainability in transport infrastructure, we discovered concepts like sustainability and sustainable development. These two terms are not the same, especially if we interchangeably use them in association with transport infrastructure. Companies that follow sustainability standards are concerned with environmental, economic, and social concerns from a long-term perspective. So sustainability involves the usual 3 spheres of Corporate Social Responsibility standards that people always talk about. Indeed, later on, when the needs of future generations became complex and the world went through rapid development, the term sustainable development came into play. It is all about striving towards excellence and keeping up with the pace of the world’s development. The industry that is the most concerned with sustainability and sustainable development is transportation.
Today, transportation companies like MDB Transportation work towards three aspects to keep up with the idea of sustainable development:
- Quality of life of the company stakeholders, i.e., customers, employees, etc.
- Earth ecology and natural capital
- Future generation’s protection
These three comprise the core of sustainable development that transportation companies and truck drivers stick to. Of course, it is vital for truck drivers to see the world flourishing while being on the road for 11 hours a day. Even though they cannot put a lot of effort into making the change possible, they want to work with a company that aims to make the world a better place to live and work in. That’s why truck drivers apply to transportation companies that see success in the link between sustainability and business. But does everyone get the meaning of sustainable transportation?
The Definition of Sustainable Transportation
The definition of sustainable transportation is comprised of three components:
- Satisfaction of human needs wants, and expectations in relation to the ecosystem and human health, no matter the generation.
- Affordability, efficiency, and a variety regarding the transportation fleet
- Limited waste creation and minimum greenhouse gas emission production
Identifying sustainable frameworks leads to sustainability in the transportation business. The secret lies in following the Triple Bottom Line (Economy, Society, Environment) that we constantly discuss in previous articles too. If the framework signifies economic vitality, social needs, and the environment, then its implementation by a transportation business will yield the improvement of sustainable transportation infrastructure. So, what about looking at that framework of sustainability?
The Ultimate Two-Step Framework
Before the creation of all-in-one frameworks that consider every aspect of sustainable transport infrastructure, companies only focused on one aspect like vehicle safety and mobility. In the two-step framework that MDB Transportation finds useful, all the possible aspects are considered vital for sustainable development in the transportation industry.
The first step of the framework that MDB Transportation depends on is sustainability covering all the essential aspects that make sustainability closer to the transport infrastructure. The three components of this framework’s first step are:
- Demand management
- System efficiency
- Infrastructure capacity
The framework’s first step categorizes components for the planning of the transportation system to tackle all the necessary aspects of sustainable development – environmental impact, capital costs, requirements of institutions, i.e., the government. According to the framework, transportation companies that strive towards sustainability should concentrate on five categories in mobility.
- Stabilize demand while growing stakeholder satisfaction level.
This can be done by providing all the company stakeholders, including customers and employees, affordable programs that accommodate individual needs.
2. Keep the infrastructure scale.
Without expanding infrastructure, transportation companies can create programs to upgrade the transit service level alongside programs to refine customer loyalty and perfect the service companies provide.
3. Maximize efficiency.
Constant planning, managing, and revising all the processes companies are engaged in, including operations, management, etc.
4. Consider overall transport infrastructure development, i.e., transit infrastructure.
Transportation companies may consider developing transit infrastructure to ease the operations.
5. Refine highway and street infrastructure.
Transportation companies should refine transportation routes.
The framework’s second step addresses sustainable development. You remember that there is a difference between the terms sustainability and sustainable development, right? So, this step comes after the stage of establishing strong grounds for the current transportation infrastructure. At that point, when the transportation business realizes the need to develop further, the implementation of sustainable development gets into work as new opportunities become available. The implementation of the framework’s second step requires research and development of the other five categories.
- Reduction in energy consumption.
Implementing projects and operational solutions that contribute to the reduction in energy consumption. Plus, shifting to energy-savvy fuels like renewable natural gas (RNG) to make the environment greener.
2. Reduction in material resource consumption.
Implement design solutions to make everything recyclable and shift to a sustainable fleet like electric vehicles (EVs).
3. Reduction in impact on environmental resources.
Modify service delivery to support biodiversity and ecosystems without deviating cultural norms.
4. Support for urban communities.
Provide service in a way that improves security and safety, as well as increases the quality of life of the community.
5. Support for sustainability no matter the circumstances.
Consider the needs of the local economy, society, and environment to accommodate those with managerial and operational planning.
These five categories are not chosen by accident. The implementation of one automatically benefits the other. This creates the advantageous chain that paves the success path for transportation industry companies.
The Formula by MDB Transportation
The first component of the formula MDB Transportation crafted is environmental sustainability. By having 23,400 shuttled containers and driving 452,304 miles every year, MDB Transportation manages to keep up with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) standards. With the “Our Mission, Zero Emission” motto, the transportation business managed to replace 78,460 Diesel Gallons with RNG. Moreover, MDB Transportation turns its operations into sustainability measures. On the website’s homepage, it is shown how sustainable the company operations are for that particular moment. At this point, the company has managed to conduct sustainable operations to the equivalent of planting 12,082 trees, eliminating 169 metric tons of GHG emissions, and removing 100 cars off the road. These numbers are huge for a transportation company, but these are possible to maintain. Recent transportation industry news reported that MDB Transportation purchased the most considerable quantity of sustainable batteries for the fleet. All this is done to save the planet and refine sustainable development.
The second component of the perfect formula that MDB Transportation sticks to is excellence in service with the help of the workforce, smooth management and operations, resourcefulness, and quality. Having these components are crucial for the company’s success because only the best transportation company can think of decreasing the unemployment rate by providing benefits that make the daily job a pleasure. Through the implementation of strategic analysis, planning, and constant strategy refinement, MDB Transportation definitely makes a difference.
MDB Transportation affirms that society is not only comprised of customers, but also employees. That is why the company strives to provide its employees with the best practices available. Ranging from employee appreciation practices to work-life balance opportunities, the company ensures that every employee is happy and safe with the company. Considering how tiring jobs in the transportation industry can be, the company constantly checks on every employee to make sure that there is no decline in the level of job satisfaction. Let’s not forget that every truck driver can be on the road for 11 hours per day, face delivery delays, and encounter other stressful situations that may eventually deprive their desire to stay with the company. As the Vice President of the company, Jack Khudikyan, mentions, “MDB Transportation values the talents and abilities of our employees and seeks to foster a cooperative and dynamic environment in which employees and the company alike can thrive.” Regarding customers, in such a competitive market, MDB Transportation manages to satisfy 20+ customers every year. This is a huge number if we take into consideration research and analysis that the company conducts to keep up with transportation industry trends.
Defining sustainable transportation is challenging; however, transportation companies should stick to an operational framework that considers sustainability and sustainable development at once. As we discussed, these two terms are different from one another but are of equal importance for a transportation business striving towards exceptional service quality and success. Whether you would like to take the two-step framework based on the Triple Bottom Line (Economy, Society, Environment) or the one MDB Transportation utilizes or create your own, having a framework directed towards sustainability and sustainable development is an integral part of the company’s success.