Assessing Feasibility of Electric Buses in Small and Medium-Sized Communities

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, place - north america, policy - environment, policy - sustainable, technology - emissions


assessment criteria, electric buses, environmental impact, financial impact, social impact


With the increasing awareness of greenhouse gas emissions, transportation with alternative fuel, especially vehicle electrification has attracted attention from more and more researchers, planners and practitioners. However, the feasibility of using electric vehicles for public transit is hard to assess as electric buses vary significantly in terms of costs and performance. Implementation of electric buses in small and medium communities is even more complex, as such communities are often more sensitive to transportation service due to factors such as tighter budget constraints, higher standards for noise and air quality control, and stronger needs for the sense of community. A comprehensive assessment framework is needed to evaluate feasibility of electric bus implementation in small and medium communities. The study establishes such an evaluation framework and selects assessment criteria based on comprehensive literature review and data from multiple sources including research reports, manufacture consultation, and surveys. An exhaustive list of bus performance measurements are quantified to reflect the latest transportation technological advancements and emerging concerns on emissions, noise and energy consumption. In addition to vehicle factors, external factors indicating special features of small and medium size communities are also considered. The study finds that most small and medium communities seem to be ideal for electric bus operation, but electric buses’ indirect impact on environment (through power generation) and their high costs should also be considered.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Taylor&Francis, copyright remains with them.