Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Sustainable Infrastructure Guidelines

The Sustainable Infrastructure Guidelines were developed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) to help project engineers and architects integrate sustainable engineering practices into the design and construction of all PANYNJ projects, which include new and reconstructed roadways, airfields, bridges, tunnels, and marine structures, among other infrastructure projects. The guidelines are designed to reduce the environmental impacts of projects, and several of the guidelines involve adapting to climate change impacts. A checklist by project type is included that assigns credits for incorporating sustainability into the project. The checklist provides flexibility that allows engineers to achieve sustainability through different project designs.

The Guidelines are divided into two parts: the first part provides a procedural guide to implementing the guidelines; the second part provides a one to two page description of each guideline, and includes a brief case study of its implementation.

The implementation process contains four steps: (1) determining the project type, (2) generating a project credit checklist, (3) project achievement, and (4) credit documentation. First, the lead engineer/architect for an infrastructure project determines the project type at the design stage. Second, an interactive excel spreadsheet is used to create a checklist of relevant sustainability measures that can be incorporated into the project design for credits. Third, the completed project is rated (certified, gold, or platinum) based on the credit-points earned, which are determined based upon the percentage of applicable guidelines incorporated into the completed project. Fourth, the rating must be supported with a drawing, specification or narrative documenting how each guideline was implemented.

The Guidelines are divided into seven sections where sustainability can be achieved in the project: site design, water retention, energy conservation, materials, construction, operations and maintenance, and innovation. There are a total of fifty guidelines, each eligible for one to three credit points for the purposes of project rating. A number of the sustainability guidelines are relevant to climate change adaptation, including:

  • Protect the ecological health of wetlands and floodplains;
  • Protect and maintain absorbent landscapes;
  • Utilize pervious pavement;
  • Utilize appropriate vegetation;
  • Mitigate heat island effect;
  • Implement stormwater best management practice strategies;
  • Implement rainwater neutrality;
  • Reduce use of potable water for irrigation;
  • Utilize end use metering – water;
  • Use on-site renewable energy;
  • Provide alternative fueling stations; and
  • Use durable materials.

For each guideline, the report provides a detailed description of the requirements: it describes the purpose of the guideline, indicates the number of applicable credit points and the criteria for achieving them, describes the required credit documentation, and provides a brief case study describing a project where the practice was implemented. The Guidelines also incorporate climate change design criteria in Appendix 2. The Appendix and criteria are further detailed in an additional case study in this clearinghouse.

The Guidelines were developed pursuant to Administrative Instruction 45-2, “to reduce adverse environmental impacts of the design, construction, operation and maintenance and occupancy or leasing of new or substantially renovated buildings and facilities, reconstruction projects, and programs,” issued in 2006. The Guidelines are updated as part of an established process, with representation from each of PANYNJ’s Line Departments, most recently on March 23, 2011.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) is a bi-state agency that builds, operates, and maintains infrastructure critical to the New York/New Jersey region's trade and transportation network. These facilities include America's busiest airport system, marine terminals and ports, the PATH rail transit system, six tunnels and bridges between New York and New Jersey, the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan, and the World Trade Center. PANYNJ's Engineering Department devised guidelines specifically addressing sustainable design for transportation infrastructure. 


This Adaptation Clearinghouse entry was prepared with support from the Federal Highway Administration. This entry was last updated on October 31, 2015.



Publication Date: March 23, 2011

Related Organizations:

  • The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Agency guidance/policy

States Affected:


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