BACKGROUND AND CHALLENGES

Over 35 institutions, organizations, agencies, municipalities, community groups and companies in the greater Boston area worked jointly through Greater Boston Breathes Better (GB3) and the Boston Air Quality Working Group to address air emissions from transportation and construction sources. They collaborated to share information, develop joint projects, provide funding opportunities, implement innovative solutions, carry out cutting edge air quality research, and educate their employees and stakeholders. This work led to measurable reductions in transportation-based diesel emissions and improved air quality in Boston area communities.

Since 2004, CBI has facilitated and helped manage several of these voluntary air pollution reduction projects.

THE CBI APPROACH

CBI facilitates and manages two collaborative efforts to improve air quality in Boston.

CBI facilitated Greater Boston Breathes Better (GB3), a coalition of public, private, and government entities, including U.S. EPA Region 1, that met several times a year to identify current issues of concern related to transportation and construction and learn from one another. GB3 has served as a hub of information sharing and a place for personal relationships to form across stakeholder groups. These GB3 partnerships have led to innovative clean diesel strategies such as adopting contract bid specifications requiring retrofits at Boston area hospitals and university construction sites; voluntary use of cleaner fuels by municipal, university, and private fleet managers; and implementation of idle reduction policies.

CBI also managed a related effort to bring together researchers, policy makers, and community advocates to talk about shared air quality issues. This effort began with a day-long symposium for 60 people on collaborative efforts to learn more about local air pollution in the Boston Area. Following the meeting, the group continued to work to identify those places where more scientific information is needed for community members and policy makers to make changes and to share strategies and techniques and raise awareness throughout different Boston-area neighborhoods.

RESULTS

CBI’s facilitation leads to improved information sharing and relationship building among the work groups.

In both these efforts, CBI staff have helped a range of stakeholders by facilitating information sharing and relationship building, while also working to promote adoption of current air quality innovations. These groups have wrestled with new technologies and strategies, and have discovered ways to move past perceived barriers to implement substantially improved systems. They have also provided a place for people to have constructive discussion about current challenges, hopes, and expectations around the many ways to reduce air pollution through voluntary activities.