The Texas A&M Transportation institute recently kicked off a project to track the performance of the A&M bus fleet with the Environmental Protection Agency.
Researchers say the goal of the project is to track speed, RPM, load and other parameters to analyze bus fleet drive cycles and possibly find ways to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.
Bob Brydia, TTI senior research scientist, said with Texas A&M's bus fleet being one of the largest in the nation, the partnership between Texas A&M Transportation Services and these high-level research entities doesn't exist in other places the same way it exists here.
With this project, part of TTI's Campus Transportation Technology Initiative, Brydia said researchers could reduce the environmental impacts of the fleet by optimizing certain aspects of transportation based on what the data shows. The research team will plug small data collectors into 15 vehicles that will log information being broadcast by the engine.
"By analyzing the drive cycles, we will look to identify solutions that could lead to reducing the fuel consumption and emissions of the buses," said Joe Zietsman, Environment and Air Quality Division head at TTI. "These solutions could be more efficient route planning, changes in overall routes, or driver behavior training for more efficient driving."
Brydia said TTI and its Campus Transportation Technology Initiative have a great resource in the bus fleet and the ability to use it and the larger campus setting as a "living lab" is beneficial to their research. As the data comes back, he said there is also potential for getting students involved, though that will be decided later.
Peter Lange, associate vice president for Transportation Services, said its important to pursue technological advancements that can come from these types of studies and provide high-impact learning to students.
"Texas A&M Transportation Services is excited to collaborate with our partners on such an important and far ranging research project," Lange said. "Providing opportunities to collect important data through advanced technologies has the potential to improve the overall efficiency of our transportation systems and lessen our impact on the environment."
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