As global populations continue to leave rural settings to flock to metropolitan centers, it has become increasingly clear that cities must focus on the development of sustainable communities, including the use of energy-efficient, clean energy technologies and zero-emission transportation. One of the primary goals being put in place by cities around the world is the reduction of emissions in heavily populated urban areas.
Although it is difficult to see at times, the shift to electric drive in cities is well underway. China has taken the lead with the conversion of its mass transit fleet, while Europe, America and India have only begun to launch electric bus trials in various capital cities.
The problem largely concerns children.
Every day in the USA, over 25 million children and thousands of school bus drivers are forced to breathe polluted air on the commute to school, which can have a negative impact on student health and overall well-being. This is especially true for students who already suffer from respiratory conditions. The benefit with the shift to electric drive is the immediate reduction in ground-level pollutants that can harm the health of students, bus drivers and citizens of local communities that are currently exposed to the diesel exhaust emission that results from transporting students on their daily commute. Some regions of the USA have committed settlement funds to accumulate money to pass on to the use of electric school buses.
School buses generally operate on fixed routes, which makes the planning and operation of electric buses much simpler to coordinate. Of course, the primary challenge is associated with the upfront financing cost, especially since electric buses entail a higher initial capital outlay than diesel vehicles. As with most new technologies, some level of government support is required to stimulate a fundamental shift.
Urban planners must now begin to consider the integration of electric drive urban vehicles so that the deployment of clean, electric school buses will be accelerated and children can enjoy a clean, pollution-free ride to school on their daily commute. Replacing diesel school buses with electric vehicles has direct and positive impacts on children, including an improvement in health, education performance and overall well-being. Of course, this is also true for adult citizens of communities throughout America.
To clean up the air we must electrify the transportation system as quickly as possible.