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Green Coach Certification (GCC) Research Initiative UTC Signature Project 3 Sustainable Transportation for Tourism. Presented by Lisa C. Chase Vermont Tourism Data Center and University of Vermont Extension March 16, 2010, 3:30pm. Sustainable Transportation.

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Green Coach Certification (GCC) Research InitiativeUTC Signature Project 3Sustainable Transportation for Tourism

Presented by Lisa C. Chase

Vermont Tourism Data Center and University of Vermont Extension

March 16, 2010, 3:30pm

sustainable transportation
Sustainable Transportation

Transportation has been the highest end-sector emitter of CO2 since 1999 (U.S. DOE)

Need new approaches to increase sustainability of travel

One approach: focus on mass transit

motorcoach travel
Motorcoach Travel
  • Carried approximately 750 million passengers in 2007.

Can exceed 300 to 500 passenger mpg and remove 55 to 80 private vehicles from roads per bus, if filled to capacity.

eco labeling

Eco-labels provide more complete information, can provoke environmental consideration in an immediate decision and create better environmental practices through competition.

project objectives
Project Objectives
  • Assessing the impacts of a pilot green certification program on the attitudes and behaviors of motorcoach operators.
  • Studying the impacts of a pilot green certification program on consumer interest and demand for motorcoach travel.
key accomplishments
Key Accomplishments

GCC pilot program began May 2009

Motorcoach operator survey

GCC participant survey

Tour operator survey

Adoption of environmental best practices

gcc pilot program


Define Clear



Define Structure and Process


Build a TechnicalCommittee





Identify Potential Stakeholders

B-2 Make Stakeholders Aware of Process

B-3 Consultationon Draft Standards



the Standards


Field Testing


Publication of the



GCC Pilot Program

Source: International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labeling Alliance

ISEAL Standard Setting Process

gcc pilot program1
GCC Pilot Program

Certification Criteria

Meeting or exceeding the industry average of 148 passenger miles per gallon.

Running an EPA 2007 compliant engine.

Running an EPA 2010 compliant engine.

Offsetting carbon emissions by 80 percent through an endorsed carbon-trading program.

Running on an alternative fuel such as a blend of biodiesel.

Having a strict, documented, and verifiable energy conservation and recycling program.

Incorporating other emerging environmental technologies as prescribed by the GCC.

gcc pilot program3
GCC Pilot Program

Current Status

20 participating companies

813 motorcoaches currently certified…and counting…

2,300 motorcoaches likely to be certified representing 8% of motorcoaches operating in U.S.

participating companies
Participating Companies

Anderson Coach Lines


Bristol Tours

Brown Coach

Calco Travel

Capital Bus Lines

Coach USA/Megabus



Hammond Transportation Services


Hotard Coaches

Lamoille Valley Transportation

MTR Western

Paradise Trailways

Peter Pan

Plymouth and Brockton

Premier Coach Lines

Riteway Bus Lines

Royal Celebrity Coach Lines

motorcoach operator and gcc participant surveys
Motorcoach Operator and GCC Participant Surveys

Research Methods

Internet survey administered to North American motorcoach company operators during summer 2009

Members of American Bus Association (ABA) and/or United Motorcoach Association (UMA)

GCC Participant survey administered separately

motorcoach operator and gcc participant surveys1
Motorcoach Operator and GCC Participant Surveys


  • 204 respondents in general survey
  • Follow up telephone interviews
    • 75% did not recall receiving messages about survey
    • Non-respondents did not differ from respondents in awareness of, and interest in, green certification or use of green marketing
  • 21 respondents in participant survey
motorcoach operator and gcc participant surveys2
Motorcoach Operator and GCC Participant Surveys

*Median values aIn thousands


tour operator survey
Tour Operator Survey


An Internet survey was administered to North American Tour Operators that are members of the American Bus Association.

During the summer of 2009, messages were sent using Survey Monkey to each operator with 5 follow-up e-mails to non-respondents.

Non-respondent phone calls were made at the end of the survey period.

tour operator survey1
Tour Operator Survey


Response rate of 33% (72 out of 228).

Majority had a company size of 10 full time employees or less, with an adjusted average of 6.4 employees.

96% reported booking multi-day trips.

97% book trips for groups larger than 31 people.


Most Important Factors in

Transportation Choice

current environmental behaviors
Current Environmental Behaviors

87% of respondents engage in one or more environmentally friendly behaviors.

outreach and publications
Outreach and Publications

Research Presentations

GCC Outreach Materials

Press Coverage

research presentations
Research Presentations

Transportation Research Forum, March 2010

Transportation Research Board, January 2010

Behavior Energy and Climate Change Conference, November 2009

National Extension Tourism Conference, June 2009

Vermont Travel Industry Conference, April 2009

outreach efforts
Outreach Efforts

Site visits to 14 motorcoach operators so far

Presentations for International Motorcoach Group, New England Bus Association, American Bus Association, and United Motorcoach Association

Weekly communication with organizations and operators

gcc outreach materials
GCC Outreach Materials

Fact Sheets

--Motorcoach Operator Survey

--Tour Operator Survey


--Participant Comparison

Program Packet for Field Test Participants

press coverage
Press Coverage

Clean Cities Coalition Newsletter Articles

NECN coverage at Quinnipiac University

Trade Magazines (i.e., Bus and Motorcoach News, Destinations, Bus Ride)

Providence Journal

A number of online news services/journals


Opportunities to expand research/budget are being explored (e.g., ABA Foundation; companies such as Academy Coach Lines and Massport; Clean Cities Program)

Additional match could be available

vision for the future
Vision for the Future

Development of Green Coach research phase II

Pilot program becomes permanent, serving as the foundation for a certification program for the passenger transportation sector