Modernizing Transit Fleets


The Modernizing Transit Fleets project aims to create a comprehensive resource guide and toolkit for Virginia’s transit agencies that wish to transition their fleets to low- and zero-emission vehicles. This project builds on the analysis conducted through the House Joint Resolution 542 Transit Equity and Modernization Study and addresses six identified needs to advance the transition to low- and zero-emission buses throughout the Commonwealth.

  • Short-term needs:
    • Establish statewide goals for zero-emission transit vehicles and a transition plan to convert transit agency fleets
    • Conduct recurring assessments of innovation in the zero-emission transit vehicle industry
    • Develop implementation resources for agencies to assist with their fleet transition planning
  •  Mid- and long-term needs:
    • Establish guidance on negotiating technology contracts
    • Align MERIT program funding with zero-emission goals
    • Expand opportunities for technology funding and implementation assistance 

The project explores a variety of topics related to low- and zero-emissions bus deployment and heavily engages with industry, utility, and agency stakeholders. The project is motivated by continued interest from partner agencies to transition to low- and zero-emission fleets and Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) ongoing funding opportunities.


Phase 1: Listen and Learn (Summer 2023)

Gather information from stakeholders, partners, and industry experts. Use findings as a basis of tool development.

Milestone: Memo #1 (Utility Engagement & Planning) and Memo #2 (Data Collection & Study Review)

Phase 2: Document and Develop (Summer 2023 – Fall 2023)

Prepare internal financial tools for DRPT use and build the guide, tools, and template. Develop statewide stakeholder communication tools.

Milestone: Memo #3 (Workforce Development Guide), and Memo #4 (Fleet Transition Plan Template)

Phase 3: Test and Deploy (Fall 2023- Spring 2024)

Test a draft version of the guide and related tools with two Virginia transit agencies to gather real-world feedback and improve final products. Document the process and outcomes.

Milestone: Memo #5 (DRPT Action Plan), Transition Plan Toolkit, and Two Virginia agency trial transition plans.


More information coming shortly

Contact Information

To reach out to the project team, please contact Daniel Wagner via email or mail.

Email: and include ‘Low- and Zero-Emission Bus Guide’ in the subject line.

Office Address:

Richmond Office Headquarters
Attn: Daniel Wagner
600 East Main Street, Suite 2102
Richmond, VA 23219

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a zero-emission bus? What is a low-emission bus?

low-emissions bus includes vehicles such as hybrid electric buses or natural gas buses that have a lesser environmental impact than traditional diesel and gasoline counterparts. This includes both fossil-fueled vehicles and those powered with renewable fuels.

zero-emissions bus uses charge from an on-board battery to power an electric motor and releases zero harmful tailpipe emissions. This includes battery-electric buses and fuel cell electric buses (powered by hydrogen).

What are the desired project outcomes?
The project aims to provide DRPT and its partner agencies with information and tools to advance the transition to low- and zero-emission vehicles. Specific outcomes include:

  • An evaluation of readiness for both the electric grid and other alternative fuel distribution systems within and nearby the Commonwealth
  • An evaluation of the financial hurdles and opportunities of low- and zero-emissions bus transitions
  • An understanding of needs and opportunities to support workforce development
  • A comprehensive toolkit that aids agencies in stakeholder engagement, understanding the process and technical requirements for low- and zero-emissions transition, and conducting their own FTA-compliant low- and zero-emissions transition plan

How can I get involved?
If you are a zero- and low-emission bus industry stakeholder, utility provider, and/or a transit agency providing services in the Commonwealth, please reach out to our project team to get involved.

If you are a member of the public, all project updates and materials will be posted to this website. Please visit back at project milestones to review final documents.