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Environmental Assessment of Urban Public Transport's Shift from Conventional to Electric Buses: A Case Study

Original scientific paper

Journal of Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems
ARTICLE IN PRESS (volume and issue assigned later), 1100418
DOI: https://doi.org/10.13044/j.sdewes.d10.0418 (registered soon)
Michelle Leichter, Laura Lerman, Vinícius Maciel, Ana Passuello
Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil

Abstract

The number of Life Cycle Assessment studies in urban public transportation focusing on modals that aim to reduce global warming impacts are increasing significantly in the last few years. These studies suggest that the insertion of green modals on local public transportation systems could be a solution to reach sustainable development. However, the impact of this insertion in developing countries is not clear yet. Then, our main objective is to evaluate the environmental impact of an emerging city’s public transportation system, considering different public policies. Consequently, we conducted a Life Cycle Assessment study considering the transitions from diesel to biodiesel buses and electric buses from 2020 to 2030. Three scenarios were performed, with the following criteria: battery changes, the increase of biodiesel percentage used in the fuel mix and buses’ expected average lifespan transitioning to electric vehicles. The results show a decrease in impact by 2030 in analysed scenarios and may support policymakers to decide whether to focus on a short-term or long-term transport policy to reduce the fleet sustainable impact. Particularly, electric buses emerge as an option to reduce environmental impacts in the public transportation system in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Keywords: urban planning, electric vehicles, biodiesel, public transport, policies, life cycle assessment.

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