Management & Operations

Altoona to add brake, emissions testing

Posted on September 23, 2008 by METRO Staff

The Altoona Bus Research and Testing Center in University Park, Pa., is currently preparing to add brake and emissions testing capabilities to its already thorough list of safety, structural integrity and durability, reliability, performance, maintainability, noise and fuel economy tests.

“What we’ll be doing is not an actual certification test, but a test of chassis-based performance,” explained David Klinikowski, director, of the Center for Bus Research and Testing at the Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute at Penn State University. “Once you put the engine in the vehicle and run it in that configuration, you’ll get an idea of the emissions on a grams-per-mile basis.”

Funding for the already built 10,000-square-foot laboratory — approximately $2.5 million to set up — will come from funds received under SAFETEA-LU and is already in place. The Center has also ordered and is expecting delivery of all necessary equipment by early 2009, however, when the Center will actually begin testing vehicles is still unknown.

“Start testing depends on when the FTA issues the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and what sort of phase and date they determine,” said Klinikowski. “All of that is undetermined at this point.”

Since the building is already established and funding will come from the federal government, the costs of creating and maintaining the Center will not be passed on to the manufacturers that send their vehicles to be tested. In fact, the cost for emissions and brake testing will follow the same 80/20 model, where the manufacturer pays 20 percent upfront and the FTA gets billed for the remaining 80 percent, said Klinikowski.

The new emissions and brake laboratory will be compatible with EPA 2010 requirements and test for particulates, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and NOx. Protocols for emissions testing are being developed in tandem with West Virginia University.

Meanwhile, brake testing will be designed to identify any potential problems with performance and will not be a replacement for the FMVSS-121-type testing, which means that all vehicles coming in to be tested must already comply with those standards, said Klinikowski.

The Center, established in 1989 and opened in 1990 with funding from The Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act, has tested 320-plus vehicles to date.

Through its various tests, the facility provides objective test data in a variety of areas that transit agencies can then view in PDF-form via the Altoona Website (www.altoonabustest.com) and use during the procurement process. It also enables manufacturers to simultaneously run their own tests that can be used to improve the performance of their vehicles. All findings are confidential until testing is complete.

“The requirement is that anybody that receives federal money, whether it flows directly from the FTA as a grant or through the state, has to certify that they have a copy of the report before federal funding is released,” Klinikowski explained. What this means is that vehicle manufacturers have to test their vehicles if they want to compete in the transit industry market.

The vehicles tested must be a production model, licensed for over-the-road travel and manufacturers have to certify that it meets all federal safety standards.

Klinikowski added that the testing provides positive benefits for everybody involved, from the manufacturer to the transit agency to the general public.

“As a result of this program, the cost and reliability of the buses have both been improved,” he said. “If you can identify potential fleet failures before they occur, you save major problems, therefore, the service goes up, reliability goes up, the costs for taxpayers go down and there are obvious safety benefits.”

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Technology, shifts in behavior can improve urban transportation: report

Respondents around the globe chose "driving their own car" over other modes of transport for reasons including comfort (54%), ease of access (47%), and reliability (39%).

Phoenix names new bus rapid transit administrator

Mike James spent the last four-and-a-half years planning and managing rail and transit corridors in Seattle, which included street car operations and seven new BRT corridors.

Deadline extended for Innovative Solutions Award submissions

Applications can be submitted either by the operation or the solutions provider and will be judged by our BusCon Advisory Board, with winners and shortlisted submissions recognized at BusCon’s Award Breakfast on Wednesday, Sept. 13.

Calif.'s GCTD breaks ground on ops, maintenance facility

The new facility will replace an outdated and deteriorating bus garage located on a three-acre site that was originally built in the 1970’s for a much smaller fleet.

London most expensive city to commute to work via public transit

New York City comes in it at No. 4 at a cost of approximately $120 per month, with Chicago and San Francisco at $102.10 and $86.10 per month, respectively.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close