Apice-Hirpinia Section of the Naples-Bari Railway Line Earns Envision Platinum Award

The Naples-Bari line is an integral part of the Scandinavian-Mediterranean railway corridor of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). The expansion project, currently being carried out in phases, consists of doubling and speeding up some sections of the current line to 200 km per hour in order to increase the capacity, frequency and regularity of transport services; improve accessibility; and facilitate more efficient travel from Bari to Naples and Rome. In 2026, the year in which this project is expected to be completed, it will be possible to go from Bari to Rome in about three hours and from Bari to Naples in about two.

Envision verification has been obtained for the Apice-Hirpinia railway section, designed by Italferr for its client RFI. This constitutes the 1st Functional Lot of the project for doubling and upgrading the Apice – Orsara section of the Naples – Bari line, between the Apice Station and the new Hirpinia stop for a total extension of approximately 18.7 km of line.

Read more about this project.

Welcoming New Additions to the Envision Review Board: Margaret Cederoth, Silvia Ciraci, Erika Jozwiak, Scott Smith, Sofia Zuberbuhler-Yafar

ISI would like to take the opportunity to recognize the newest members of the Envision Review Board: Margaret Cederoth (California High-Speed Rail), Silvia Ciraci (ICMQ), Erika Jozwiak (New York City Mayor’s Office of Resiliency), Scott Smith (Metrolinx), and Sofia Zuberbuhler-Yafar (New York City Department of Design and Construction). You can learn more about them and their journey as sustainability leaders in the bios below.

ISI would also like to express our deepest gratitude to the Envision Review Board members who completed their terms at the end of 2019 after serving with distinction for five years; Timothy Barry (Ramboll), John Eddy (Arup), Kari Hewitt (Kim Lundgren Associates), Andrew Shaw (Black and Veatch), and Andrew Sauer (Burns & McDonnell).

Originally created in, 2015 the Envision Review Board is comprised of industry-leading infrastructure professionals representing public agencies, private companies, and general interest groups. The mission of the Envision Review Board is to ensure the continued integrity and efficacy of Envision and its associated tools, resources, and documents; to provide for consistency in interpretation and development; and to assure the ongoing relevance of the tool and its associated best practices to the highest standards of scholarship and practice. In this way, Envision is a tool created and overseen by the infrastructure industry itself.

To learn more about the entire Envision Review Board Click Here.

Margaret Cederoth

Director of Planning and Sustainability, California High-Speed Rail Authority

Margaret Cederoth is an urban planner with two decades of experience working in sustainable infrastructure and land use and transportation planning throughout the US and globally. Ms Cederoth was appointed by Governor Newsom in 2019 to be the Director of Planning and Sustainability for the California High-Speed Rail Authority.  She previously led sustainability work for the Authority, and as a consultant she oversaw corporate sustainability initiatives for WSP USA, including their commitment to carbon neutral operations and the development of training and tools for implementing sustainability approaches on a range of infrastructure projects. She has a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Silvia Ciraci

Manager of Infrastructure Sustainability Certification, ICMQ

Silvia Ciraci graduated as a Building Engineer in 2008. She started her career as a consultant specialized in Safety and Quality Management Systems. Since 2013 she has been with ICMQ S.p.A as their Quality and Product Certification Project Manager, gaining field experience on construction sites. In 2014 she qualified as a LEED Green Associate and Envision Sustainability Professional. She is currently Manager of Infrastructure Sustainability Certification services at ICMQ, acting also as an Envision Trainer, Verifier and Reviewer for the application of Envision on Italian projects.

Erika Jozwiak

Program Manager, Infrastructure NYC Mayor’s Office of Resiliency

Erika Jozwiak is a Program Manager for Infrastructure at the NYC Mayor’s Office of Resiliency. Prior to this role, she was Sustainability Section Chief of the Engineering, Design & Construction Bureau at NYC Department of Environmental Protection. At DEP she was responsible for incorporating the tenants of sustainability into the $18.1B 10-year capital plan and ensuring compliance with all relevant sustainability regulations. She seeks to advance the holistic long-term sustainability of NYC’s critical infrastructure. Erika has a degree in Environmental Science from Franklin & Marshall College.

Scott Smith

Senior Advisor, Sustainable Design, Metrolinx

Scott Smith has 12 years of public agency experience in sustainable design and environmental management. His experience spans local and provincial government agencies in Ontario, Canada, with a focus on the interdisciplinary environmental review of municipal infrastructure projects through environmental assessment and regulatory processes. In his current role, Scott is responsible for advancing sustainability in the design of bus and rail assets for regional transportation in the greater Toronto and Hamilton area. As his master’s degree thesis, Scott assessed the potential for the use of Envision by public agencies in the sustainability certification of road projects in Ontario. Scott has been an Envision Sustainability Professional since 2016.

Sofia Zuberbühler-Yafar

Senior Project Executive for Sustainable Infrastructure, New York City Department of Design and Construction

Sofía Zuberbühler-Yafar is Program Director for the Sustainable Infrastructure Unit with the New York City Department of Design and Construction.  She manages design contracts and ensures the on-time delivery of NYC’s Department Environmental Protection’s various multi-million-dollar city-wide green infrastructure contracts.  Currently she is integrating sustainable design measures and goals within the agency standards and contracts.  Sofia is the only NYC public agency certified ENV SP Trainer and is preparing fellow colleagues to become ENV SPs.

Mrs. Zuberbuhler-Yafar is a licensed Landscape Architect with a graduate degree in Urban Design and over 19 years of varied experience including urban planning with the NYC Department of City Planning and landscape architecture design in the private realm.  She resides in New York City with her family and enjoys traveling.

ENV SP Spotlight: Southport Levee Improvement Project Team

Top row L-R: Mark Zollo, Greg Fabun, Michaella Wittmann Middle row L-R: Jennifer Ninete, Ian Cain, Morgan Abbett Bottom row L-R: Kim Sosalla-Bahr, Sergio Jimenez, Vinson Russo

This is our 11th ENV SP Spotlight in our ongoing monthly series, and the first Spotlight article to feature a project team. The Southport Levee Improvement Project (SLIP) team is comprised of Envision Sustainability Professionals (ENV SPs), professional engineers, project managers, analysts, botanists and water resource professionals coming together to collaboratively work on an infrastructure project in West Sacramento, California that is pursuing Envision verification.

ISI had an opportunity to connect with the team to learn more about who they are and how they came together, and also how Envision was used on the SLIP project.


Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI): Tell us about yourselves. Specifically, what do you do professionally, and how did each of you contribute to the Envision work on the SLIP project?

Mark Zollo (MZ): I am a Senior Administrative Analyst, Flood Protection, for the West Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency (WSAFCA) in the City of West Sacramento, California. I have 25 years of experience in public works and redevelopment. I worked with the Envision team to determine relevant credits to the SLIP project and which levels of achievement could be pursued. I also helped the team examine and discuss how the project meets each relevant evaluation criteria in the Envision system for the credits we decided to pursue.

Greg Fabun (GF): I am the Flood Protection Manager for the West Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency (WSAFCA) in the City of West Sacramento, California. I have over 30 years of experience managing operations and capital improvement projects in the public sector. I reviewed credits with the Envision team to determine which ones to pursue and discussed with the team how the meets each relevant evaluation criteria.

Michaella Wittmann (MW): I am HDR’s Director of Sustainability and was the Envision facilitator for this project. In addition to being an Envision Sustainability Professional, I am also a LEED Fellow and Fitwel Ambassador. I have more than 25 years of experience focused on integrating the right sustainable solutions for a multitude of project types and have been focused on integrating sustainability into infrastructure projects for the last 10 years. I also chair the Envision Technical Review Board which is the primary Envision decision-making body, and I am an ISI-approved Trainer and Verifier.

Jennifer Ninete (JN): I am a Sustainability Consultant with HDR and was the lead ENV SP for this project. I have more than 20 years of industry experience and six years using the Envision framework. I have worked on more than 20 Envision projects to-date and, in addition to being a Sustainable Transportation Professional (STP) and an ENV SP, I am also an ISI-approved Trainer and Verifier.

Ian Cain (IC): I am an ENV SP and Associate Botanist with HDR. On this project, which happened to be my first Envision project, I developed credit cover sheets and compiled project documentation. I have more than 13 years of experience serving as a project botanist or senior botanist on a variety of restoration, transportation, gas pipeline, housing development, local government, and transmission projects, with a more recent focus on restoration design and monitoring, transmission line, and transportation projects.

Morgan Abbett (MA): I am an engineer-in-training (EIT) as well as an ENV SP, LEED AP ND, Fitwel Ambassador, ISI-approved Trainer and an Envision Verifier. As a Sustainability Consultant with HDR, I worked with the project team to create credit cover sheets and compile supporting documentation for this project. I am well-versed in green rating systems for both buildings and infrastructure, having had the opportunity to manage green building certifications for diverse development and construction projects across the US pursuing third-party certification including LEED v4 ND and ID+C, LEED v3 NC, GreenPoint Rated, WELL, and Fitwel.

Kim Sosalla-Bahr (KS-B): I am a Registered Architect (RA) and hold LEED BD+C and ENV SP credentials. I am a Senior Sustainability Consultant with HDR. For the SLIP project, I worked with other members of the team to create credit cover sheets and compile supporting documentation. I have more than 25 years of professional architectural and sustainable design experience. My primary focus is integrating sustainable design in engineering infrastructure and architectural projects. I have had the opportunity to work multiple Envision projects and I am also an Envision Verifier.

Sergio Jimenez (SJ): I am a professional engineer (PE) and Water Resources Management Market Sector Leader with HDR in Sacramento, California. I was the Project Manager for the Southport Levee Improvement Project and have more than 25 years of experience in the fields of flood control water resources wastewater and environmental engineering design.

Vinson Russo (VR): I am a professional engineer (PE) and a Senior Water Resources Engineer with HDR. I assisted the project team with project details and in finding relevant supporting project documentation to submit for Envision verification.


ISI: Please explain how and why you came together as a team for the SLIP project.

JN: In October 2018, the West Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency (WSAFCA) issued a request for proposal for “Services for Project Assessment under the ISI Envision Sustainable Rating System” for the Southport Levee Improvement Project. HDR’s proposal was selected by WSAFCA and the team began working together in January 2019.


ISI: Tell us more about the SLIP project and what the West Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency is aiming to achieve with this project.

JN: The Southport Levee Improvement Project (SLIP) is implementing flood risk-reduction measures for one of the most vulnerable levee segments along the Sacramento River in the Southport area of the City of West Sacramento. SLIP extends along the west bank of the Sacramento River, from just south of the Barge Canal, downstream 5.6 miles to the South Cross Levee. Levee improvements include a combination of fix-in-place and a new setback levee embankment construction with cutoff walls, seepage berms, utility relocation, demolition, rock slope protection and the use of borrow sites. Project transportation improvements include realigned roadways, new access ramps and roads, turnouts, cul-de-sacs, and maintenance corridors. Flood risk-reduction measures constructed will address deficiencies of through-seepage, under-seepage, slope stability and geometry, erosion, and encroachments and noncompliant vegetation.

MZ: WSAFCA’s goal is to achieve a 200-year level minimum of levee performance for the city of West Sacramento. The project brings the levee up to standard with Federal and State levee design criteria, as well as providing opportunities for ecosystem restoration and public recreation.


Teamwork and Collaboration

ISI: Could you tell us more about how you worked together and organized yourselves as a team?

MW: The team worked together to retroactively apply Envision to the SLIP. Initially, there was a planned in-person meeting to review all Envision credits for applicability and potential level of achievement. After discussions, the team determined that the process could be carried out by phone over five conference calls. This approach reduced timing conflicts and costs associated with travel, while enabling additional staff to be included in the conversations.

The assessment discussions were led by ENV SPs and prompted WSAFCA to examine project decisions from varying perspectives based on the sustainability framework. The owner and project team had approached planning and design with an emphasis on sustainability. It was clear that project objectives aligned well with Envision. For example, key project objectives for SLIP included reducing flood risk, constructing a project that is politically, socially, economically, and environmentally acceptable; facilitating compatibility with the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan and West Sacramento General Re-evaluation Report; and providing ecosystem and habitat restoration, preservation and enhancement; providing improved or new public outdoor recreation and open space opportunities.

JN: After initial conversations, responsibilities for developing pursued credits were divided between two HDR ENV SPS, with the Lead ENV SP providing quality oversight and review. Because ENV SPs began developing credit packages as the assessment conversations progressed, the approach provided opportunities for timely discussion of issues arising during credit development and progression of conversations about interrelated credits.

After credits had gone through a quality control process, they were grouped into four batches for WSAFCA review. WSAFCA reviews were instrumental in providing the correct voice for the credit cover sheet narratives, as well as distinct details about the project’s sustainable attributes. This collaboration helped to improve efficiency and enhance content throughout the credit development process. If questions arose during this process, the team communicated via email or phone to determine the best resolution. Once WSAFCA provided comments, the credits were finalized and prepared for upload to the ISI website.


Envision Experience

ISI: How was the use of Envision helpful for this project?

MW: Although this verification process began during project construction, the project had a great sustainability story to tell. Envision provided three things:

First, it brought to light and celebrated sustainable project attributes that might otherwise have been dismissed as ‘business as usual.’ Second, it started conversations around and highlighted the project’s broader sustainability connections to the community and the environment. And third, it provided a platform for telling the project’s sustainability story.


ISI: Why did you decide to use Envision on the SLIP project?

MZ: Simply, the City of West Sacramento has a history of championing sustainability and, as previously mentioned, Envision supports the project objectives. More tangibly, though, the State of California’s Department of Water Resources Cost Share Guidelines outline cost share incentives for contributing to the state’s sustainability objectives. Per the Guidelines, “The goal of including sustainability objectives in the proposed project is to better manage water resources in a manner that meets California’s long-term environmental needs.” Specifically, the state will increase its cost share for projects that are able to document their sustainable components via the ISI’s Envision program. Applicants providing evidence of a Gold recognition are entitled to a 5% increase in the State cost share, and those receiving Platinum recognition can receive a 10% increase in the State cost share of the Total Project Cost. It was evident that this project had the components to achieve recognition through the Envision program, with optimism of receiving additional state funding. The project was initially submitted at a Platinum level. In the long term, the incentivized cost share gets projects to use the Envision process and experience how the process can lead to better informed project design.


ISI: What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome as a team and how did you do it?

JN: There were a couple challenges working as a team for this project. First, the obvious challenge of working across the country in different time zones and communicating by email and phone. Of course, this is a challenge many face today. Everyone on the team made a point to be very responsive to one another, especially when time sensitive questions arose. In addition, as a Biologist with other project work, Ian was assigned to a project ‘in the field’ after he had completed about two-thirds of his credit assignments. Due to time and connection limitations, this meant he would be unable to work on the remaining credits. Luckily Kim was able to pick up where Ian left off, so the Envision schedule didn’t need to be altered significantly to manage the change. Kim had not been involved in the initial discussions, so the team worked to familiarize her with the project and documentation resources available for the credits she was assigned to develop.


ISI: What was one of the greatest benefits of using Envision on this project?

MZ: From WSAFCA’s perspective, the Envision framework created a record that reflected the Board’s care in balancing the project objectives and impacts to the community.  The Board’s guiding principle was to provide the most flood risk protection to the community with the minimum impact to individuals, families, businesses, and their property.  Balancing that tension and impact is difficult and the verification process reflects that hard and difficult leadership that served the project well.


ISI: What are some of the things you learned through your teamwork and collaboration? Will these lessons learned shape the way you approach the use of Envision on other projects?

MW: The client’s level of engagement related to the Envision process and evident pride and enthusiasm for the project made this work very interesting. Sometimes when you retroactively assess a project in the context of the Envision framework, there can be disappointment because the project doesn’t fulfil key requirements in credit criteria.

JN: With this project, more and more benefits kept coming up. Even as credit packages were being developed and completed, WSAFCA was sending new tidbits of information that enhanced the credits. For instance, late in the process, the city was notified that they would be receiving grant funding for the Southport Levee Trailhead Project. The grant award funds half of the cost to construct a formal trailhead – with improvements like parking, landscaping, an informational kiosk, shade features, and an ADA ramp to the crown of the levee – adjacent to the new Southport Levee Trail. The Envision team determined which credits could benefit from incorporating the new information and revised those credits with the additions.

This collaborative approach really benefits the Envision team, the client’s team, the project team and the overall Envision submittal. Hopefully, in future projects we can encourage, and the team will be agreeable to, a similar process.