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Center Identification Number:  77927 

Project Title: Tracking Costs of Alternatively Fueled Buses in Florida

Principal Investigator:

Stephen L. Reich, Program Director
Transportation Program Evaluation and Economic Analysis

Center for Urban Transportation Research
University of South Florida

Phone: 813-974-6435
Fax: 813-974-5168

External Project Contact:     

Robert Westbrook
Project Manager/Operations Administrator
(850) 414-4533

Start and End Dates

Start Date:  December 2009               Expected End Date: October 2011

I.  Project Objective/Problem Statement

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.

FDOT has worked with 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.

II. Objectives/Tasks

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 cost estimating guidance for the modification of transit maintenance facilities to make them suitable for servicing alternatively fueled buses.

Task 1.  Project Management – this task will cover project management at CUTR, including producing required progress reports and carrying out deliverable reviews before submittal to FDOT.  A kick-off meeting shall be scheduled to occur within the first 30 days of execution by the university. The preferred method for the kick-off meeting is via teleconference or video conference. As a minimum, the project manager and the principal investigator will attend. The Research Center staff must be advised of the meeting and given the option to attend. Other parties may be invited, as appropriate. The subject of the meeting will be to review and discuss the project’s tasks, schedule, milestones, deliverables, reporting requirements, and deployment plan. A summary of the kick-off meeting shall be included in the first progress report.

Task 2. Development of Reporting Tool – CUTR, working the FDOT Transit Office, will develop a data template for agencies to use in transmitting information on the costs and reliability of their alternatively fueled transit vehicles to a central repository. This template will then be shared with transit agency maintenance managers for comment, input and modification. It is CUTR’s intention to minimize additional data gathering and reporting to the extent possible, while not compromising the project objectives.

As the data template is being finalized, CUTR will develop an on-line reporting system that will allow agencies to input data on the performance and costs of their alternatively fueled transit vehicle fleet electronically. It is anticipated that at a minimum, agencies procuring heavy-duty transit buses that are alternatively powered (other than traditional heavy-duty diesel engine drive systems), and those acquiring lighter-duty paratransit vehicles that are alternatively fueled with FDOT financial assistance will be requested to report on a quarterly basis. Anticipated data to be reported includes:

Agency Name For each hybrid-electric or other alternatively fueled vehicle:

• Unit Number

• Date Placed in Service

• Manufacturer o Coach o Drive Components

 • Warranty Status

 • Life-to-Date Mileage

• Life-to-Date Fuel Usage

• Life-to-Date Labor Costs

• Life-to-Date Parts Costs

Task 3. Cost Comparison Reporting CUTR will collaborate with the FDOT Project Manager on the content, timing, and distribution of reports resulting from the activities in Task 2. In addition, summary reports that compare cost data across several types of heavy-duty transit vehicles will be able to be produced based on work that FDOT previously funded by using the recently released Bus Fuels Fleet Evaluation Tool ( BuFFeT© model).

The focus of the reporting is assumed to deal with patterns that emerge related to use, model, and manufacturer of the hybrid-electric and other equipment and is not designed to be used for cross agency comparisons. CUTR researchers will remain sensitive to this issue during establishment of the reporting format and for the duration of the project.

Task 4. Estimating Facility Costs Separate and apart from the operating cost data that will be collected and reported, CUTR will research and document actual costs associated with maintenance facilities to accommodate alternatively fueled vehicles. This will involve a detailed analysis of the costs and requirements of retrofitting maintenance facilities for the safe handling of alternative fuels (including hydrogen). Estimated unit costs will be determined for conversions of existing shops that could be used by Florida agencies. This task will include a review of code issues and the results will be used to update the BuFFeT© model.

Task 5. Final Report At the conclusion of the project funding period (90 days before the end date), CUTR will produce a final report that summarizes the project activities and the data reported by the participating transit agencies. The report will also include any provisions made for the on-line reporting tool so that FDOT or another entity can continue to acquire data after the project is completed.

Further details on the final report are described below in the section “Deliverables.”

Work not included in this scope of service is not to be performed and will not be subject to compensation by the Department.

Several other policy discussions and decisions will need to be addressed in the Task. Consultation with FDOT will be required in order to determine if this reporting will be a requirement under any grant of funding agreements with FDOT. Other issues include frequency of reporting, dealing with other types of alternatively fueled buses, and treatment of performance and reliability data while units are under warranty.

The deliverable of this task is an on-line bus performance reporting system that will include web-based input, guidelines for reporting, and training for agencies in use of the system.

III. Deliverables

Progress Reports The Principal Investigator will submit quarterly progress reports to the Research Center. The first report will cover the activity that occurred in the 90 days following the issuance of the Task Work Order.

Reports should be submitted within 30 days of the end of the reporting period. Reports are due even if little or no progress has occurred (in which case, the report should explain delays and/or lack of progress). Progress reports should be sent in MS Word to Sandra Bell, .

Progress reports must include the following information: 1. Contract Number, Task Work Order Number, and Title 2. Work performed during the period being reported 3. Work to be performed in the following period 4. Anticipated modifications (i.e., to funding, schedule, or scope). This section is for reporting/informational purposes, not for officially requesting an amendment. Note: To request an amendment to a contract, the contractor must provide the project manager with the appropriate information (i.e., what is being requested with justification) in the required format. If the project manager concurs with the request, he/she shall forward it with his/her approval and commentary, as appropriate, to the Research Center for administrative review and processing (pending available funds, etc.) 5. A Progress Schedule (figures A, B, and C) updated to reflect activities for the period being reported.

Failure to submit progress reports in a timely manner may result in termination of the work order.

Draft Final Reports The Draft Final Report is due 90 days prior to the end date of the task work order. The draft final report will be submitted to Sandra Bell, It should be edited for technical accuracy, grammar, clarity, organization, and format prior to submission to the Department for technical approval. The Research Center expects contractors to be able to provide well-written, high quality reports that address the objectives defined by the scope of service. Draft final reports must be prepared in accordance with the “Guidelines for Preparing Draft Final and Final Reports.”

Final Reports Once the draft final reports have been approved, the university shall prepare the final report. The university will deliver a minimum eight (8) copies of the final report in MS Word on CD or DVD. The CD/DVDs should be labeled in a professional manner and include at a minimum the contract number, task work order number, project title and date.

The final report is due no later than the end date of the task work order and should be delivered to the following address:

The Florida Department of Transportation Research Center,

MS 30 605 Suwannee Street

Tallahassee, FL 32399-0450

Sign and Seal of Final Research Report

Principal investigators licensed to perform engineering in the State of Florida and performing research that requires engineering education, training, and experience in the application of special knowledge of the mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences to such services or creative work as consultation, investigation, evaluation, planning, and design of engineering works and systems, planning the use of land and water, teaching of the principles and methods of engineering design, engineering surveys, and the inspection of construction in connection with any utilities, structures, buildings, machines, equipment, processes, work systems, projects, and industrial or consumer products or equipment of a mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, or thermal nature, insofar as they involve safeguarding life, health, or property may be required to sign, date and seal the final report. This requirement will be known prior to the development of a scope of service, and this section of the scope will be an acknowledgement of that requirement.

For the purpose of this section, one copy of the final report may be electronically transmitted to the Research Center: signed, dated, and sealed by the licensee electronically in accordance with ss. 668.001 – 668.006 F.S.

I.                  V.  Project Schedule



V.  Project Budget

        Total Budget    $100,000

VI. Use of Graduate Student(s) and Other Research Assistants

There will be no need for a graduate student.

VII. Equipment

No need for non-standard equipment is expected for conducting the proposed research. Reimbursement will only occur upon receipt of and only for the amount of the purchasing invoice for the subject equipment. The university, upon receipt of any purchased equipment, shall forward to the Research Center a copy of the purchase invoice/property description as detailed in Exhibit C – Budget/serial number and receipt. The Department will prepare and forward inventory control label(s), which the university shall have affixed to the property.

VIII. Travel

No travel will occur on this project.  All travel shall be in accordance with Section 112.061, Florida Statutes. FDOT employees may not travel on research contracts.

National Center for Transit Research · at the Center For Urban Transportation Research · University of South Florida · 4202 E. Fowler Ave., CUT100 · Tampa, FL 33620-5375 · (813) 974-3120 · (813) 974-5168 · · Comments: