Mass Transit - 25

I

MAGINE THE START OF A
triathlon. The starting gun
goes off and everybody dives
into the water. After the swim,
some participants jump out
and grab their bicycles for the
next phase while others look
around sheepishly and ask,
" We needed a bike? "
That failure to plan ahead
is farfetched, but it shows what
happens when there's a fundamental misunderstanding of the
bigger picture and the end goal.
Many fleet operators make a similar misstep in their transition
to zero-emission vehicles. They
start off too quickly or leap to an
easy partial solution, then have to
head back to the starting line after
completing the pilot project. In a
multi-part, data-driven undertaking, it's important to prepare for
all of the phases from the beginning. Transition plans are phased
approaches that can cover multiple years, but a clear roadmap for
adapting to new technology makes
more sense than returning to the
starting line every time.
Globally, there are more than
500,000 battery-electric buses and
almost 400,000 electric delivery
vans and trucks on the road, according to BloombergNEF research.
More than 200 transit agencies in
North America are operating, ordering or have received funding for
zero-emission vehicles. Many others
are paying close attention. Installing
a charging station and purchasing
a handful of buses to replace those
on current routes is an easy way to
start. However, developing a comprehensive roadmap at the beginning of the process is a much more
effective and efficient way to transition to zero-emission vehicles.
Developing the right strategy
for a fleet transition means developing long-term goals, whether
that's whole-fleet conversion, a
specific emissions target or some
other strategic goal. Skipping the
research, planning and design steps
at the start may seem like a time
saver, but in reality, it leads to one

HDR

of the biggest causes of lost time and
money for fleet owners pursuing
this transition-the scaling trap.

Avoid the Scaling Trap

As with any effort involving new
technology, a transition to zero-emission vehicles will take
operators through a technology
adoption S-curve, from idea to
plan to design to pilot to full implementation. Every step is important, necessary and builds on
the previous step. But this simple
S-curve is not what we're seeing in
many cases. Instead, roll-out programs start and stall, struggling to
scale to full adoption, resulting in
a double or triple S-curve scaling
trap causing pitfalls and re-starts.
The scaling trap is the place
agencies find themselves when
they've completed a pilot project, are ready to move on to the
next phase, then realize they are
unclear on what needs to happen
next and unsure whether they have
the resources or infrastructure to
move forward. This often happens
as a result of projects that were designed to test technology or utilize
an available funding source versus
being a smaller element of a strategic, community-focused roadmap.
This piecemeal approach leads
to more work and additional investments. This stalls progress,
frustrates stakeholders, impacts
employee morale and drains
budgets. Taking the time to lay
a solid foundation and focusing
pilot projects on testing for the
end result is key to avoiding this
trap, saving fleet owners time and
money and minimizing the social

ANY OWNERS
converting
their fleets
should expect
the process
to happen in
phases.

Read CTE's
analysis of
what can go
wrong with
electric fleet
deployments
(hint: CTE says
it's not the
technology.)
MassTransitmag.
com/21161010

and political risk that comes with
overpromising to transit board
members and setting up unrealistic community expectations.
The question fleet owners must
confront is, " What is my pilot program testing? " A well-considered
approach that pays long dividends
will test the energy delivery system
and vehicle solutions that will be
used for an entire fleet, not just the
first few vehicles. That might mean,
for instance, utilizing a depot charger and/or en-route charger to test
the impacts of both solutions on
operations, workforce, planning
and finance. Making smart early
investments will pay off as a conversion plan is phased in.
Starting with a holistic, system-wide approach focused on the
end goal means gathering all the
relevant data and research at the
beginning. This includes the pros
and cons, as well as the operating
and financial implications needed
to make good decisions. With that
solid foundation, design and development can move forward and
the resulting pilot project is actually a validation of the end goal.
If the plan is to store vehicles in a
certain way and charge them in a
certain way, then the pilot should
be a test of that solution. If it
works, the project can increase in
scale and move forward, without
circling back to the research stage.

A Better Roadmap,
From Idea to
Implementation

Any owners converting their fleets
should expect the process to happen in phases. As current vehicles
end their service life, battery-electric or hydrogen fuel-cell infrastructure is added and funding becomes available. Conversion plans
NOVEMBER 2020 | MassTransitmag.com | Mass Transit |

25


http://www.masstransitmag.com/21161010 http://www.MassTransitmag.com

Mass Transit

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Mass Transit

Ad Index
Editor's Notebook: What's Next? Better Mobility
People & Places
New Ransomware Attacks Pose Costly Threat to Transit Agencies
2020 Transit Safety and Security Report
Planning the Right Zero-Emission Fleet Conversion from the Beginning
AVs Pave the Way to Future Mobility
A New Age for Streetcars
Products: In Focus - Shelters, Stops & Stations
Best Practices: Creating a Safer, More Secure Ride on Metro Transit in the St. Louis Region
Mass Transit - 1
Mass Transit - 2
Mass Transit - 3
Mass Transit - 4
Mass Transit - 5
Mass Transit - Ad Index
Mass Transit - 7
Mass Transit - Editor's Notebook: What's Next? Better Mobility
Mass Transit - 9
Mass Transit - People & Places
Mass Transit - 11
Mass Transit - 12
Mass Transit - 13
Mass Transit - New Ransomware Attacks Pose Costly Threat to Transit Agencies
Mass Transit - 15
Mass Transit - 16
Mass Transit - 17
Mass Transit - 18
Mass Transit - 19
Mass Transit - 2020 Transit Safety and Security Report
Mass Transit - 21
Mass Transit - 22
Mass Transit - 23
Mass Transit - Planning the Right Zero-Emission Fleet Conversion from the Beginning
Mass Transit - 25
Mass Transit - 26
Mass Transit - 27
Mass Transit - AVs Pave the Way to Future Mobility
Mass Transit - 29
Mass Transit - 30
Mass Transit - 31
Mass Transit - A New Age for Streetcars
Mass Transit - 33
Mass Transit - 34
Mass Transit - 35
Mass Transit - 36
Mass Transit - 37
Mass Transit - Products: In Focus - Shelters, Stops & Stations
Mass Transit - 39
Mass Transit - 40
Mass Transit - 41
Mass Transit - Best Practices: Creating a Safer, More Secure Ride on Metro Transit in the St. Louis Region
Mass Transit - 43
Mass Transit - 44
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