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Dataset of Electric School Bus Adoption in the United States

This dataset tracks electric school bus (ESB) adoption across the United States. The dataset is organized by school district and tracks the number of “committed” ESBs in each district, with details like the bus manufacturer and funding source(s). It also contains school district socio-economic characteristics like poverty rates and racial composition, to enable wider analysis including whether the transition to ESBs is happening equitably. This dataset was developed as part of WRI’s Electric School Bus Initiative.

Findings from the dataset are summarized in our article on WRI Insights. The methods and sources for the dataset are described in the technical note. To be notified when the next quarterly update to this dataset is released, please sign up for updates from the Electric School Bus Initiative.

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Description

Transitioning to electric school buses (ESBs) from traditional diesel-powered school buses can reduce students’ exposure to air pollution and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. School districts and private fleet operators around the United States are adopting electric school buses with increasing speed, but so far ESB adoption has not been tracked or reported in a centralized and publicly accessible way. WRI aims to create and disseminate sound, up-to-date, accessible data and analyses that can help school district staff, advocates, policymakers, and other stakeholders make evidence-based decisions and support the transition to electric school buses. This first-of-its-kind dataset that tracks ESB adoption across the United States.

The dataset is organized by school district and tracks the number of “committed” ESBs in each district. An ESB is considered “committed” starting from the point when a school district or fleet operator has been awarded funding to purchase it, or has made formal agreement to purchase it from a manufacturer or dealer. We would not consider an ESB “committed” if a school district or other fleet operator only expressed interest in ESBs or stated that they plan to acquire ESBs, without awarded funding or an agreement with a third party. The dataset also includes other details related to “committed” electric school buses, such as the bus manufacturer and funding source(s). It also includes school district characteristics including poverty, racial composition, and locale (urban, suburban, town, or rural), to enable wider analysis of the adoption of ESBs, including the extent to which the transition to ESBs is happening equitably.

ESB-related data were collected from a variety of publicly available sources, including news articles, school websites, industry publications like School Bus Fleet magazine, and social media posts. Other demographic and economic data come from reputable, public datasets including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Census, and National Center for Education Statistics. This dataset will be updated quarterly over the life of WRI’s Electric School Bus Initiative to include new ESB commitments and additional indicators.

Findings from the dataset are summarized in our article on WRI Insights. The methods and sources for the dataset are described in the technical note.

Cautions

This dataset is the result of new data collection by WRI’s Electric School Bus Initiative, and is sourced from hundreds of news articles, school district webpages, and other online sources. To the best of our knowledge, these data are up to date as of December 2021, but represent a snapshot in time, in a rapidly evolving space. We will update this dataset quarterly for the duration of WRI’s Electric School Bus Initiative.

Please see the “Limitations” section of the technical note for additional caveats and limitations.

Citation

Lazer, L. and L. Freehafer. 2022. “A Dataset of Electric School Bus Adoption in the United States.” Washington, DC: World Resources Institute. https://datasets.wri.org/dataset/electric_school_bus_adoption

Access & Use Information

License: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Full license text available at Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

Metadata

Project: Electric School Bus Initiative

Page Last Updated: February 11, 2022

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