Implementing an Alternative Fuels Program in Small-Sized Transit Systems

The push toward alternative fuels is a critical element in the transportation industry. Air quality concerns have raised significant issues and the impact of low emission technology has reached the automobile, trucking, and transit industry. Emerging technologies have overcome many of the technical obstacles facing transit providers and systems nation-wide are implementing a variety of environmentally-friendly vehicles and programs. In addition to bettering the environment through lower emissions and better fuel economy, alternative fuels are an attractive feature for current non-transit users who are becoming more environmentally conscious. For the most part, highly effective alternative fuel programs require tremendous amounts of investment in technology, infrastructure, and capital. Costs for new and retrofitted vehicles are highly prohibitive, as is investment in new facilities and infrastructure for fueling stations, advanced maintenance technology, and charging equipment. Another critical resource issue is the requisite staff expertise to evaluate and implement the various technologies. Effective implementation requires a systematic plan developed by transit staff that understands the complexities of alternative fuel technology. Despite these obstacles, Knoxville Area Transit (KAT) has been able to establish a highly successful Clean Fuels Program. Since January 1, 2003, KAT has moved from no alternative fuels to utilizing four different types of low-emission technologies, which represent 90% of all vehicles utilized by KAT. KAT’s Clean Fuels Program has been embraced whole-heartedly by the local community and is seen as an innovative initiative addressing serious air quality issues in East Tennessee. This paper will provide an overview of the development of KAT’s Clean Fuels Program, review the processes for procuring and implementing these technologies, and discuss the impact of the program in terms of emission reductions and technical issues, successes and failures of the program, the role of partnerships, and customer satisfaction. Most important, KAT can show how a small-sized transit system can implement a successful alternative fuels program with minimal infrastructure and in a short period of time.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: 8p
  • Monograph Title: 2005 Bus & Paratransit Conference

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01001925
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 1931594163
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 11 2005 1:13PM