Medium- and heavy-duty transit vehicles primarily comprise transit buses of various sizes and applications. Although transit buses make up a small proportion of vehicles in the United States, they typically operate in heavily populated areas where pollution is a problem and exhaust smoke is easily noticed. Transit agencies have been under increasing pressure to reduce overall fleet emissions. One way transit agencies can reduce emissions is by incorporating alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles into their fleets. Transit vehicles are ideally suited for alternative fuel and advanced technologies for many reasons:
- Centrally located, fueled, and maintained
- Serviced by a team of technicians who can be trained consistently
- Accumulate high mileage, creating favorable economies of scale
- Travel on fixed routes with fixed schedules
- Have Federally subsidized capital costs (80% Federal Transit Administration)
- Have high visibility and high impact
Advanced Vehicle Technology Activity transit projects are designed to help fleet owners and operators make purchase decisions by providing them with comprehensive laboratory and fleet test data on viable alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles. Project types include technology studies and evaluations of specific vehicles in a fleet. The most important vehicle propulsion technologies considered for fleet evaluations are those that appear to have a significant chance of commercialization.