Taking the HyRoad

An Effective Practice


Taking the HyRoad is a hydrogen fuel cell bus program run by AC Transit, the public transportation authority for western Alameda and Contra Costa Counties in California. Fuel cell electrically propelled vehicles are quiet and environmentally friendly, emitting only water vapor from the tailpipe. The Taking the HyRoad program includes the use of zero-emission hybrid-electric hydrogen fuel vehicles, on-site hydrogen production and fueling, and public education and safety training.

The fuel cell buses have hydrogen tanks on the roof that give the bus a range of 300-350 miles, and batteries that recharge during braking provide extra power for acceleration and climbing steep grades. Taking the HyRoad provides educational curriculum for middle and high schools and outreach programs to the public; the fuel cell buses are designed to be Mobile Learning Centers, providing educational messages directly to AC Transit riders. The program is funded through public agencies and private sector companies, and has secured more than $21 million specifically for fuel cell development.

Goal / Mission

The goal of Taking the HyRoad is to improve fuel economy and reduce the emissions from public transit buses through the use of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Results / Accomplishments

Taking the HyRoad is one of the most comprehensive hydrogen fuel cell demonstration programs in the world, with three zero-emission hybrid-electric hydrogen fuel cell buses and a fleet of fuel cell passenger vehicles. In the first two years of the program, AC Transit estimates it reached over 520,000 people through 124 outreach events. The Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory evaluation of the program from April 2006 – December 2007 found AC Transit fuel cell buses served 141,700 passengers and operated more than 62,000 miles. The buses had an overall fuel economy of 6.23 miles/kg. This equates to 7.04 miles/gallon of diesel, compared to the regular AC Transit diesel vehicle fuel economy of only 4.2 miles/gallon.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Jaimie Levin, Director of Marketing & Alternative Fuels Policy
AC Transit
1700 Franklin Street
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 891-7244
Transportation / Public Transportation
Transportation / Commute To Work
Environment / Air
AC Transit
Date of publication
Date of implementation
Alameda and Contra Costa County, CA
For more details

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