In health terms, the Trolleybus clearly delivers more benefits
look at the route maps
the Electric Tbus Group's response to the Mayors draft Air Quality Strategy
'Health costs attributable to road transport in London'
'Calculations and references relating to health and environmental costs, in relation to Public Service Vehicles'
Environmental pages -
Promoting quiet, clean urban transport using Overhead Electric, Zero Emission Trolleybuses -
email The Electric Tbus Group
Since 1999 more people died from air pollution in London than from road traffic accidents. The correlation between pollution and health is becoming clearer. And as this relationship becomes more quantifiable, so too does the cost, in terms of National Health Service care that is incurred by the noxious emissions of internal combustion engined vehicles. Not only does replacing diesel buses with trolleybuses led to cleaner air, but their attractiveness also makes likely a reduction in car use - a win, win situation that'll lead to more pleasant streets to live in.
London Buses, in "Cleaner Air for London - London Buses leads the way", estimate the pollution from their buses to a mean figure which equates to a cost of 13 pence per kilometre as the cost of health care caused by the pollution.
This figure presumably allows for the number of older diesel buses which are not at all "clean".
Assuming that all the buses of a transit scheme would be the very cleanest engines and would thus be better than the mean of the present fleet, this, applied to the East London Transit scheme saves £1,084,160 per annum health care costs. Looking at cars and based on the above mentioned booklet figures, a car with a load factor of 1.5 persons gives a health care cost of 0.52 pence per kilometre.
London Buses concede in the booklet that based on the present fleet, there are no less Particulates and NOx per passenger kilometre from their buses than from cars. Allowing for the cleaner engined vehicles, and a modal shift of 5% from cars to diesels, gives some benefits, which add up to a saving of £1,102,227 per annum or £33,066,810 for a full 30 year lifecycle.
As there are no on-street emissions for the trolleybuses (even with fossil fuel generation, this would still be correct for Central London street air. With "green" electricity generation being wholly true at all locations, the saving is the full 13 pence per kilometre of the ordinary bus kilometres which would be operated.
This, with the same car use changes, saves £1,817,270 per annum health care costs.
With a more realistic modal change from car to Trolleybus of 12.5%, adds in a further £97,867 per annum.
The total Trolleybus figure is thus £1,915,137 per annum or £57,454,110 for the full 30 years.
The difference over the full 30 years between the Diesels and the Trolleybuses in terms of health care costs saved is thus: £24,387,300.
If we could replace 1800 London diesel buses by 850 trolleybuses (a ratio based on faster journeys possible with trolleybuses) or indeed by any number of trolleybuses (since they are zero NOx and non-particulate polluting on street) , the resultant respiratory disease health care costs saved come to a huge £13.5 million per year or £410 million over the 30 years. The total health care spend in London is around £7,000 million, so introduction of trolleybuses on this scale could reduce the total spend by around 0.2%.. Although its difficult to accurately pin point what proportion of total health care costs is for respiratory problems in London, figures for Scotland indicate it to be around 11% of the total. If London is of a similar order, by using trolleybuses, the reduction in health care costs of respiratory diseases goes up to around 2%. This is a significant amount.
Gordon Mackley. The Electric Tbus Group