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Innovative shuttle bus debuts in Washington, D.C.

A modernized version of the traditional Yellowstone National Park tour bus has been developed as a low-emission, cost-effective community/transit shuttle bus of the future.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory is working with the departments of Interior and Transportation, as well as private industry, to roll out the "new" yellow bus. The bus will be unveiled at an event for members of the news media at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 25, near the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. (See complete schedule below).

While this modernized version of the traditional yellow bus retains the conventional feel of the older model park vehicles, the new version is a 16- to 32-passenger vehicle that uses alternative fuel, features a low floor and complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The passenger area of the bus is built low to the ground so steps are not required for entry. The entry ramp can be extended to accommodate passengers in wheelchairs and with strollers. The bus also has a retractable roof to allow passengers greater visibility to the outdoors. Another optional feature is tracks replacing tires for traveling over snow in winter.

This first bus is a model for Yellowstone National Park, says Kerry Klingler, INEEL project manager. The bus designers have traveled across the country to assess how it can be adapted to other transportation needs. Eventually, the vehicle is expected to be manufactured with several optional engines, using alternative fuels like natural gas, propane, ethanol and biodiesel. For the national parks, the "new yellow bus" is the modern version of the historic vehicles that once were common in places like Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. Taking its cue from the 1930s-vintage White Motor Company vehicles, these modern vehicles feature the roll-back top, rounded back and excellent visibility that characterized the historic buses. Th
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Contact: Teri Ehresman
ehr@inel.gov
208-526-7785
DOE/Idaho National Laboratory
25-Sep-2003


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