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Cost Savings

Beyond Ratings: The Cost Savings Potential of Sustainability Practices

It can be difficult to capture the true value of sustainability. Benefits of the triple bottom line can be realized in several ways including cost savings, healthier environments, time savings to users and agencies as well as improved quality of life. In an effort to better quantify the economic benefits of sustainability while also highlighting the environmental and social benefits of such practices, FHWA used this study to go beyond rating the sustainability of transportation projects and programs and explore building a business case for implementing some practices of the INVEST tool. Six representative practices were selected and studied to find real world examples of costs savings. These practices were explored to provide sufficient information to present triple bottom line benefits in tangible and comparable metrics time saved, costs saved in dollar value, etc.).

To help inform decisions about the use of sustainable transportation practices FHWA has generated dollar equivalents to estimate benefits and cost savings of specific practices that have been implemented by transportation agencies. These savings or benefits were classified into agency savings, economic benefits (to the users), environmental benefits and social benefits.


The findings of this exploratory research have been summarized in a narrative for each selected practice. These narratives describe the goal of the sustainability practice, the sustainability linkage and the potential triple bottom line cost savings. The basis for potential savings is supported by specific examples from agency experiences.

Additionally, a list of tools and references was developed for each practice that can provide supplementary information to transportation agencies and decision makers seeking to adopt similar practices.

Downloads: Cost Savings Presentation and Handouts

 INVEST Cost Savings Full Report

 INVEST Cost Savings Presentation

 INVEST One Page Handout