Recommendations for a Whole Life Cycle Economic and Environmental Impact Technology Assessment Tool for Alternative Driveline Bus Fleets

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


In response to the environmental impact of large transportation systems, such as buses, coupled with the need to design and operate efficient and cost-effective fleets, low emission alternative bus driveline technologies are of increasing interest. However, these drivelines (e.g. hybrid, battery-electric, hydrogen fuel-cell, etc.) tend to have higher capital costs than conventional diesel vehicles, with further uncertainty of the total cost of ownership and whole life greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Stakeholders (e.g. fleet operators and bus manufacturers) may not have the necessary specific evidence or tools to evaluate, quantify and rationalise the environmental and economic impacts of new fleets. This paper evaluates the current state-of-the-art methods and tools for whole life cycle modelling of alternative driveline bus fleets by reviewing life cycle analysis methods, how they can be applied to passenger transportation, and what methods or tools are currently used for comparing alternative drivetrain bus fleets. Gap analysis of the literature shows that the evaluated drivelines, scope of analysis, and system boundary coverage are relatively inconsistent across evaluated life cycle modelling studies. This leads to high levels of variation in whole life cycle results for GHG emissions and costs, showing that there is no one solution for every geographical or operational condition. No single study has been identified that quantifies the risk and uncertainty associated with whole life cycle impacts of design decisions for alternative driveline bus fleets. The need for additional fidelity of manufacturing, maintenance and end-of-life stages of the life cycle, combined with vehicle operation simulation models, would assist in quantifying the complex interactions within the life cycle. A novel preliminary framework, integrating the Technology Impact Forecasting technique, has been identified which would enable analysis of the carbon footprint, economic implications and risk and uncertainty of new driveline technologies. This preliminary framework, when developed, will allow for the analysis, exploration and trade-off evaluation of bus technologies, not only at a drivetrain level, but also the fleet level, serving the delivery of the function of a bus service.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2017
EventIrish Transport Research Network Conference (2017) - University College Dublin (UCD), Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 28 Aug 201729 Aug 2017


ConferenceIrish Transport Research Network Conference (2017)
Abbreviated titleITRN 2017
Internet address


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