Benefit Cost Analysis of Hybrid Bus Deployment on Transit Routes

There is a growing interest in hybrid-electric buses by the transit agencies. This interest is in part due to their increased focus on making their bus fleets cleaner and more efficient. Today the majority of transit buses are diesel fuel powered. The adverse health effects of tail pipe emissions from diesel fuels are well-known. More than 45 percent of the outdoor air pollution levels in the U.S. is due to motor vehicles. Currently, five major metropolitan areas in New Jersey have air pollution levels exceeding the air quality index. Therefore, there are clear benefits of using hybrid-electric buses on transit routes within metropolitan areas. Aside from reduced pollution levels, hybrid-electric buses are beneficial in terms of reduced noise and fuel consumption. Although its benefits are well proven, the market penetration of hybrid technology in transit buses is still low compared to diesel fuel or compressed natural gas powered buses. One of the main reasons is the high capital cost of hybrid-electric buses. The purchase cost of a typical hybrid-electric bus is on average between $150,000 and $210,000 more than a diesel bus. Most project reports that focus on the benefit cost analysis of hybrid-electric buses consider the benefits of hybrid technology only through reduced fuel consumption. However, from a social benefits point of view, a more comprehensive benefit cost analysis should also consider reduced air pollution and noise costs as benefits. The main research question is "Is it economically viable to use hybrid-electric buses on transit routes in New Jersey?"