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Vehicle Technologies Office: National Idling Reduction Network News

The National Idling Reduction Network brings together trucking and transit companies; railroads; ports; equipment manufacturers; Federal, state, and local government agencies (including regulators); nonprofit organizations; and national research laboratories to identify consistent, workable solutions to vehicle idling for the entire United States. Below is the most recent issue; the archives are available on the Archives page.


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April 2016 National Idling Reduction Network News: From the Editor

Are No-Idling Transit Buses in Your Future?

One reader recently suggested that we feature more coverage in the National Idling Reduction News Network (NIRNN) of hybrid/electric transit bus features that reduce idling. While NIRNN has published a few recent articles on idling reduction in transit, below highlights how new technology has improved the operation of bus fleets for both the fleet owners and the passengers.

In the November 2015 issue of this newsletter, we talked about how some passenger cars are now equipped with start-stop technology. That technology is also available for hybrid transit buses. When buses so equipped* come to a stop, the engine cuts off, and the main traction battery powers the bus’s necessary functions, such as HVAC, compressed air, engine cooling, power steering, and lighting, without interruption. For these buses, excessive idling at bus stops isn't a problem. Electric buses of course have no internal combustion engine at all. For commuters using public transportation, this is game-changing. Even for people who drive their own vehicles, getting stuck behind a transit bus belching black smoke or emitting noxious fumes is no picnic.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), provides significant support to transit agencies around the country. Up to 80% of the cost of transit buses comes from FTA. The agency also conducts R&D on bus systems to support the development of more energy-efficient and lower-emission buses.

One FTA program of special interest to us is the Low or No Emission Vehicle Deployment (LoNo) program, which deploys the cleanest and most energy-efficient U.S.-made transit buses that have been largely proven in testing and demonstrations but are not yet widely deployed in transit fleets. The LoNo Program provides funding for transit agencies for capital acquisitions and leases of zero-emission and low-emission transit buses, including acquisition, construction, and leasing of required supporting facilities such as recharging, refueling, and maintenance facilities.

A Notice of Funding Opportunity for this year's funding cycle is now open and closes on May 13, 2016. For FY 2016, $55 million in funding is available. To see recently funded LoNo projects, see the Awards and Recognition section of this month's newsletter.

Proterra, a developer of all-electric buses, just announced that it is to receive funding for the majority of the vehicles awarded by the FY 2015 LoNo program. The LoNo grant winners will use their funds to purchase 33 Proterra Catalyst® buses, bringing the company's total number of orders to 155 vehicles from 16 transit agencies across the United States.

Seattle's King County Metro received BAE System's 6,000th hybrid system with its recent order of New Flyer buses, all equipped with a HybriDrive Series-E system that has no-idle, auto start/stop technology and electric accessories. BAE Systems states that nearly 100% of its U.S. sales are equipped with electric accessories and anti-idle start/stop technology. Seattle now has 356 HybriDrive systems in its transit fleet and boasts of having one of the greenest U.S. fleets. The transit system is expected to achieve its goal of an all-electric and hybrid fleet by 2018.

As the LoNo hybrid and electric transit demonstration projects prove the buses' reliability, transit agencies will deploy more of them in their fleets. Lower emissions—or none at all—will enable transit agencies to use less fuel, more easily meet air quality standards, and perhaps even increase ridership.

* Corrected from the version of this newsletter distributed on May 2, 2016, which suggested that hybrid buses' internal combustion engines always shut off at stops.


Terry M. Levinson, Editor
Allegheny Science & Technology


Patricia Weikersheimer, Writer
Argonne National Laboratory


Solicitations for Funding and Awards

Program (with link to website) — Organization — Funding Amount — Due Date  (Information new since last month in boldface.)


Deadline in Chronological Order


First Come, First Served


Rolling Deadline Until Funds Are Awarded


Awards and Recognition

Awardee — Source of Award — Purpose of Award — Award Amount

  • Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District Under the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (California) — U.S. DOT FTA — 5 battery-electric buses and related equipment — $1.55 million.

  • Foothill Transit under Southern California Association of Governments — U.S. DOT FTA — Charging facilities for the agency’s electric bus program — $1.31 million.

  • King County Metro (Washington) — U.S. DOT FTA — 8 battery-electric zero-emission buses — $3.34 million.

  • Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority under the Southern California Association of Governments — U.S. DOT FTA — 5 battery-electric zero-emission buses and 8 charging stations — $4.28 million.

  • Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Pennsylvania) — U.S. DOT FTA — 25 zero-emission all-electric buses and related equipment — $2.59 million.

  • Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (Ohio) — U.S. DOT FTA — 3 zero-emission American Fuel Cell Buses — $4.02 million.

  • Utah Transit Authority — U.S. DOT FTA — 5 battery-electric zero-emission buses — $5.43 million.


Regulatory News

DERA Reauthorization Bill Introduced

The federal Diesel Emissions Reduction Program, established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and later reauthorized and funded through fiscal year (FY) 2016, is scheduled to expire this year. Also called the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA), the program has allowed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) to provide hundreds of millions of dollars for projects that reduce diesel emissions, some of which have included idling reduction.

A new Senate bill (S. 2816), buoyed by bipartisan support, proposes reauthorization of DERA through fiscal year 2021. It has been referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works. To track the progress of S. 2816, please go to


Reports and Other Resources of Interest


Upcoming Meetings and Events

Name of meeting [with Link to Website] Date (Location) (Information new since last month in boldface.)


Manufacturers' News

Recall: Newer Cascadia Trucks Equipped with Bergstrom ParkSmart

Nearly 9,000 Freightliner Cascadia trucks manufactured between March 24, 2014, and November 9, 2015, are being recalled. An electrical defect on the factory-installed Bergstrom ParkSmart auxiliary HVAC system may cause overheating or even fire. Bergstrom informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that "overheating of the compressor connector on units built with the open style compressor connector cap has resulted in a small percentage of potential fires (one tenth of one percent, 0.1%)."

Owners of the affected trucks will be notified in early May. Owners may also contact Daimler Trucks North America at 800-745-8000. See Transport Topics or the NHTSA website for more information.


Carrier Transicold Expands Line of Solar Panels for TRUs

Carrier Transicold has expanded its line of thin-film, flexible solar panels designed to maintain transport refrigeration unit (TRU) battery charge. In addition to its original 28-W (1.8 amp) solar panel, the company now offers 18.5-W (1.2 amp) and 9.24-W (0.6 amp) panels, accommodating a broader range of user needs and budgets.

The solar panels, which can be installed on the roofs of trailers, truck bodies, and refrigerated rail cars, can offset the electrical draw from accessory devices. The panels can also help conserve fuel by minimizing the need to run the TRU engine to charge the battery.

More information is available at Carrier Transicold's website.



STB Derails Delaware's Locomotive Idling Law

The U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) Surface Transportation Board (STB) has ruled that the law Delaware enacted last year to limit nonessential locomotive idling "has the effect of managing and interfering with rail operations" and is thus preempted by federal law.

According to news source delawareonline, state Senator and bill sponsor David McBride (D) said he would pursue an appeal with the Attorney General's Office. "I see this as the first round of this fight. I think we have a law that doesn't unduly burden the railroad and can make it a better, more responsible neighbor." For more information, please visit delawareonline. The text of the ruling is available on STB's website.


Additional Idle Reduction Resources

Please visit the Vehicle Technologies Office's Idle Reduction webpage for links to more idle reduction resources, including an idling reduction savings calculator (xls calculator and printable pdf calculator), Locations of Electrified Parking Spaces, Status of the Weight Exemption for Idling Reduction Devices, and back issues of National Idling Reduction Network News. Other resources include IdleBox, an electronic, modular toolkit to facilitate idling reduction outreach and implementation, IdleBase, a database of idling regulations for all classes of on-road vehicles, and the Alternative Fuels Data Center idle reduction page.