Zero emissions transit buses are an emerging alternative to traditional diesel buses. Battery electric buses and fuel cell electric buses provide cleaner and quieter transit service, potentially lower operating costs, and simplified maintenance. The potential environmental benefits of these fleets are considerable because (1) they do not emit carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, and particulate matter and (2) they have a lower noise signature. Customer comfort may also be enhanced because electric propulsion and auxiliary systems are simpler and quieter. The potential worldwide growth of zero emissions transit bus manufacturing suggests that substantial economic benefits may occur in those countries that lead in developing and deploying of the technology.
Some transit agencies in the United States and globally are considering the initial deployment and possible expansion of zero emissions bus fleets. Despite their recognized benefits and global interest, only a few of the hundreds of transit agencies in the United States have introduced zero emissions buses, and, in most agencies that have introduced them, they represent only a small percentage of the total fleet. Many challenges and questions confront transit agencies interested in introducing and expanding use of zero emissions transit buses. Ultimately, these challenges may be resolved by improved and less expensive technology. However, in the near term, these challenges may be addressed by improved planning and operational strategies and additional resources for more buses and/or chargers.
The objective of this research is to produce a guidebook for use by transit agencies planning to deploy zero emissions transit vehicle fleets (including battery electric buses and fuel cell electric buses). The target audience will be transit systems of all sizes. The guidebook should assist policymakers, including transit board members and elected officials, and transit agency managers to improve their decision-making and business practices for zero emissions buses.
The research is complete and the final deliverable has been released as a pre-publication for TCRP Report 219. A link to the report can be found here.