Tracking Costs of Alternatively Fueled Buses in Florida

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economics - appraisal/evaluation, economics - operating costs, mode - bus, place - north america, technology - alternative fuels


Alternate fuels, Buses, Data collection, Florida, Public transit, Transit vehicle operations, Transit vehicles


Transit agencies across Florida have been dealing with escalating and retracting fuel prices and changes in regulations dealing with diesel fuel and diesel engines. In addition there has been an increased emphasis on reducing carbon emissions by transit agencies in general and for the vehicles that they operate. Many agencies have introduced alternatives to the traditional heavy-duty diesel bus into their fleets. This has occurred even as diesel technology has gotten "cleaner" with recent changes to ultra-low sulfur fuel and enhanced emission control technologies. These advancements, on the other hand, have increased operating costs for the fixed-route operators. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has worked with the Center for Urban Transpiration Research (CUTR) in the past in attempts to quantify the potential cost differentials associated with various heavy-duty bus propulsion technologies. One technology that is gaining popularity is the diesel hybrid-electric bus. The growth in the acquisition of these units has been helped by recent funding made available through the federal economic stimulus effort. Some agencies in Florida have made applications and are receiving funding for these buses through the "Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction" (TIGGER) Grant program while others are using regular transit capital funds. The TIGGER Grants were created as a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Typically, FDOT funds 50 percent of the non-federal share of bus capital and stands to have substantial investment in this technology as acquisition costs for these buses averages about $150,000 more per unit. The main objective of this project is to establish a recording and reporting mechanism for the performance and costs of alternatively fueled public transit vehicles operating in Florida. The data collected and periodically reported will enable policy makers to have actual field data to assist their future decision making on maintenance resources and future vehicle acquisitions. Another aim of this project is to establish costs estimating guidance for the modification of transit maintenance facilities to make them suitable for servicing alternatively fueled buses.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by National Center for Transit Research, copyright remains with them.