Environmental life-cycle assessment of transit buses with alternative fuel technology

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - environmental impact, technology - emissions, technology - alternative fuels, ridership - demand, place - north america


Environmental life-cycle assessment, Alternative fuels, Hydrogen fuel-cells, Transit buses


The paper presents a life-cycle assessment of costs and greenhouse gas emissions for transit buses deploying a hybrid input–output model to compare ultra-low sulfur diesel to hybrid diesel-electric, compressed natural gas, and hydrogen fuel-cell. We estimate the costs of emissions reductions from alternative fuel vehicles over the life cycle and examine the sensitivity of the results to changes in fuel prices, passenger demand, and to technological characteristics influencing performance and emissions. We find that the alternative fuel buses reduce operating costs and emissions, but increase life-cycle costs. The infrastructure requirement to deploy and operate alternative fuel buses is critical in the comparison of life-cycle emissions. Additionally, efficient bus choice is sensitive to passenger demand, but only moderately sensitive to technological characteristics, and that the relative efficiency of compressed natural gas buses is more sensitive to changes in fuel prices than that of the other bus types.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


Transportation Research Part D Home Page: