First Advisor

Miguel Figliozzi

Term of Graduation

January 2021

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Civil & Environmental Engineering


Civil and Environmental Engineering




Bus, Model, Replacement, Buses -- Maintenance and repair -- Costs, Bus lines -- Finance, Bus lines -- Cost effectiveness, Local transit -- Management



Physical Description

1 online resource (xi, 102 p.) : col. ill.


Overwhelming evidence throughout the literature has shown that bus overhead and maintenance (O&M) costs increase as buses age. This has implications toward a fleet manager's decision of when one should buy, use, or sell buses to minimize total fleet costs. Unfortunately, there are uncertain market conditions associated with bus fleets that cloud the manager's ability to make appropriate decisions. Using integer programming (IP), O&M trends and changing market conditions are integrated into a model to better analyze bus fleets. Due to recent budget constraints of transit agencies, needs for a bus fleet replacement model have arisen. King County in Washington State has supplied cost aggregated data of their New Flyer (NF) and NF hybrid buses. These data have been analyzed to create statistical relationships based on rising O&M costs per mile with age, which are then integrated with the IP model to determine the impact of changing diesel prices, potential carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions costs, uncertain maintenance costs, and bus purchase cost subsidies. The goal is to aid fleet managers to determine the costs of early or delayed suboptimal bus replacement timing and the impacts of market variability on fleet costs and optimal replacement timing. The optimal replacement age for NF and NF hybrid buses based on King County data and current fuel prices of $3.99/gal are 16.7 and 18.3 years, respectively. It has been consistently observed that greater expense is incurred when buses are replaced earlier rather than later from optimal. To minimize total CO2 emissions (including operation and construction emissions), buses should be replaced slightly before the optimal replacement time without considering CO2 emissions. High diesel prices and CO2 emissions had little or no effect, on when buses should be replaced. However, higher maintenance costs reduced the optimal replacement time by almost two years. Although NF hybrid buses have been found to have no economic advantage over conventional buses, this finding may be a consequence of the different costs associated to the different routes operated by hybrid and conventional buses. Due to the lack of detailed King County's route level historical data, a study of the economic competitiveness of NF hybrids against conventional buses is outside the scope of this thesis. If buses are used less with age, the optimal replacement age is reduced. The optimal replacement age also dropped significantly when the Federal Transit Agency's procurement assistance is applied into the model. The procurement assistance can be up to 80% of the capital costs and can be considered a purchase subsidy from the transit agency viewpoint. If purchase subsidies decrease bus purchase prices by 1%, the optimal replacement age drops approximately 1.5%. When the bus purchase price is reduced by 80%, the optimal bus replacement age is less than 12 years, the FTA's minimum replacement age.


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Portland State University. Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Persistent Identifier