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Your Environment. Your Health.

Fuels for urban transit buses: a cost-effectiveness analysis

Environmental Health Economic Analysis Annotated Bibliography

Details

Research article Cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA)
Authors
Cohen JT, Hammitt JK, and Levy JI
Journal
Environmental Science & Technology
Summary
This cost-effectiveness analysis estimated the benefits of alternative transit fuel technologies relative to conventional diesel (CD). The authors found that compressed natural gas (CNG) provided larger health benefits than emission-controlled diesel (ECD) buses, but ECD was more cost-effective than CNG. This study is the first to compute and compare aggregate incremental costs and health benefits for bus propulsion technologies.
Population
Not available

Health Outcomes

  • Mortality
  • cancer outcomes
  • respiratory outcomes (chronic asthma)

Environmental Agents

List of Environmental Agents:

  • Air pollutants (ozone, nitrogen oxides (NO,NO2), sulfur dioxide, diesel exhaust)

Source of Environmental Agents:

  • Near and far-source exhaust and transit emissions (vehicle operation emissions or upstream emissions)

Economic Evaluation / Methods and Source

Type:

  • Cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA)

Cost Measured:

  • Resource costs such as vehicle procurement, infrastructure development, and operations (vehicle maintenance, facility maintenance, and fuel)
  • greenhouse gas emission damages
  • health losses (mortality and morbidity) due to environmental exposures measured as quality adjusted life years (QALYs) or health loss estimates

Potential Cost Measures:

  • Health impacts/losses due to impact of ultrafine particles
  • quality of life impacts of alternative fuel technologies on noise/odor control
  • safety risks
  • maintenance failure costs
  • health risks to those living near bus depots where diesel buses are often left running throughout the night

Benefits Measures:

  • Benefits and QALYs saved by the use of alternative transit fuel technologies relative to conventional diesel

Potential Benefits:

  • Benefits measures and reductions in costs related to health impacts/losses due to impact of ultrafine particles
  • quality of life impacts of alternative fuel technologies on noise/odor control, maintenance, and other health risks

Location: (Not available)

Models Used:

  • GREET model

Methods Used:

  • The authors analyzed the costs and health benefits associated with the purchase of alternative bus propulsion technologies relative to conventional diesel (CD) engines. The authors — 1) used a series of simplifying assumptions to arrive at first-order estimates for the incremental cost-effectiveness of emission controlled diesel (ECD) and compressed natural gas (CNG) buses relative to CD engines; 2) calculated cost effectiveness using the cost-effectiveness ratio, where the numerator reflects acquisition and operating costs, and the denominator reflects health losses; 3) quantified health impacts using estimated relationships between exposure to particulate matter (PM) and ozone and QALYs lost; 4) evaluated emissions of PM, NOx, and SO2 considering mortality risks from primary and secondary PM exposure and mortality and chronic asthma risks from ozone exposure; 5) estimated exposures to PM and ozone using the "intake fraction" parameter; 6) estimated upstream emissions for CD and CNG using the GREET model; and 7) evaluated vehicle operation emissions generated by transit buses using the central business district (CBD) test cycle.

Sources Used:

  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Transportation Research Board; American Cancer Society (1995); National Morbidity, Mortality, and Air Pollution Study (2000); additional sources cited in publication

Economic Evaluation / Methods and Source

Citation:

  • Cohen JT, Hammitt JK, and Levy JI. 2003. Fuels for urban transit buses: a cost-effectiveness analysis. Environmental Science & Technology.

Pubmed:

DOI:

NIEHS Funding: (Not available)

Other Funding: (Not available)

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