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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. It tracks the number of “committed” ESBs at the school district level, as well as details about individual buses, including the bus manufacturer and funding source(s). It also tracks when each ESB passed through the phases of the adoption process and the current phase of each bus. The dataset contains school district socio-economic characteristics, like poverty rates, racial composition and air pollution 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 both school district and individual ESB and tracks the number of “committed” ESBs. 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 tracks the progress of each individual ESB through the four phases of the adoption process: “awarded,” “ordered,” “delivered,” and “operating.” It also contains school district characteristics including poverty, racial composition, air pollution, 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 June 2022, 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. August 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: August 26, 2022

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