The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) has recognized six state and local initiatives for leading the nation in deploying cleaner bus fleets.
Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (Oakland, CA) is recognized for its leadership in investing in and developing advanced technologies. AC Transit’s $20 million hydrogen fuel cell demonstration program puts into full-time service three 40-foot hydrogen fuel cell transit buses from ISE Research (Thundervolt) and UTC Fuel Cells. The program includes a new refueling station with component learning center.
Durham Public Schools (Durham, NC) is recognized for its leadership in establishing fleet-wide usage of biodiesel. During the 2003-2004 school year, Durham used more than 600,000 gallons of B20 (a 20% biodiesel, 80% diesel blend) in its fleet of 325 buses. Durham received initial funding through the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) and has also received significant support from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.
Jordan School District and Salt Lake Clean Cities Coalition (Salt Lake City, UT) are recognized for their leadership in promoting a cultural awareness of alternative fuels and technologies. Working in partnership, Jordan School District and Salt Lake Clean Cities Coalition are striving to clean up Jordan’s bus fleet and integrate an innovative alternative fuels curriculum into the district’s drivers education programs. For the 2004-2005 school year, Jordan’s compressed natural gas (CNG) buses (using John Deere CNG engines) are expected to displace approximately 33,000 gallons of petroleum and prevent nearly 250 tons of emissions.
King County Metro Transit (Seattle, WA) is recognized for its leadership in investing in advanced technologies and emissions reduction strategies. By year’s end, King County expects to fully integrate 213 hybrid-electric buses (New Flyer buses using GM-Allison hybrid drive and Caterpillar diesel engines) into full-time service. King County’s use of ultra low-sulfur diesel (ULSD) continues to significantly reduce particulate matter and other emissions, while spurring the development of this important market.
Knoxville Area Transit (Knoxville, TN) is recognized for its leadership in exploring innovative emissions reduction strategies. In 19 months KAT went from using no alternative fuels to using alternative fuels in 80% of its fleet—a number KAT hopes to increase to 95 or 100 percent. KAT’s strategies include the use of propane, biodiesel (mixed on site with additives to decrease NOx emissions), and hybrid-electric (hybrid trolleys from eBus, and several Priuses in the staff fleet) technology. KAT’s onsite emissions testing facility allows the agency to continually alter its use of fuels to enable lower emissions.
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection is recognized for its leadership in developing a statewide clean school bus campaign. The campaign has coordinated efforts with student transportation providers to establish commitments and guidelines from school superintendents for better driving practices with a particular focus on reducing idling. In the first year of the program, schools implementing idle reduction policies reduced idling of over ten minutes by more than 50%—reducing emissions and providing a healthier environment for students.
EESI initiated the National Clean Bus Leadership Recognition Program in 2003 to highlight the leadership of local initiatives to bring cleaner buses to America’s communities and to remove the dirtiest diesel buses from roadways. This program is part of EESI’s Clean Bus Project, initiated with the goal of encouraging the deployment of cleaner fuels and advanced vehicle technologies by strengthening support for local, regional, state, and national “clean bus” initiatives that have recognized the environmental and health impacts of conventional diesel buses, and are working towards cleaner transportation practices.
Federal legislation passed in 1998 established the Clean Fuels Formula “Clean Bus” Grant program, but this program was never funded. The program expired in 2003 and requires reauthorization. Budget constraints at the state and local level make federal support for the deployment of cleaner buses especially important.