AC Transit Zero Emission Bus (ZEB) Training Facility — Oakland, CA

  • Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit)
Project Value

$25 Million


Electrification, Energy And Environment, Transportation


Design And Urban Planning

AC Transit owns and operates a zero-emission fleet of 58 battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell electric buses. In 2023, the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) was awarded a Federal Transit Administration’s Bus and Low-and No-Emission Grant Awards (Low-No Grant) to support sustainable public transportation. A portion of these funds support development of a campus for training personnel to perform high-tech service of cutting edge Zero Emission Bus (ZEB) propulsion systems.

The facility, called ZEBU, will feature classrooms, simulation of operational situations, vehicle maintenance procedures, and emergency scenarios for hands-on learning.

AC Transit Zero Emission Bus (ZEB) Project Design and Development

We led a multidisciplinary team in the development of a new conceptual design. This included the development of various alternative scenarios that were evaluated over the initial phase of the project. Subsequently, we conducted a comprehensive site survey and confirmed the initial programming effort. We also developed a set of schematic design drawings and renderings for the preferred alternatives. In preparation of future project phases and in order to support grant applications for the project, we also completed a cost estimate for the selected alterative.

Breaking Down The Vision For ZEBU

The project is a remodel of an existing facility that no longer meets the functional need of the agency. We developed a comprehensive programming document for the facility in close collaboration with AC Transit and the current users of the facility. During a series of collaborative workshops, we developed a new vision for ZEBU that is emblematic of the forward-thinking technology that is serviced in the facility.

Parsons developed the following vision for the facility:

ZEBU will emerge as a noticeably distinct entity from its predecessor, and indeed from its neighbors in its industrial zoned district. Where most are opaque, uninviting and muted, ZEBU will be transparent, open and vibrant. Progression – whether embodied in the training of a student, the conversion of a fleet, or the societal mindset at large – will be both a guiding principle for the spatial organization as well as a prevailing theme in the architectural language.

Creating a Transparent and Engaging ZEB Hub

As a result, this facility will look like a place where knowledge is being exchanged and ideas are being tested. Flexibility is critical as technical requirements and use patterns may change as the technology evolves. Spatial organization will be intuitive and clearly navigable, with long sight lines and minimal blind corners. As a corner lot, it will take advantage of its generous street frontage to broadcast its mission and offer a glimpse into its inner workings. Color and supergraphics will be employed to energize the streetscape. The existing building will remain legible, to recognize the transformation as well as demonstrate the sustainability merits of adaptive reuse. As a facility that is guiding the way for others into the future, showcasing what is possible and at hand, it will adopt an aesthetic that feels ahead of its time yet is accessible and unintimidating. This will be achieved through the selection of honest familiar materials used in novel and innovative ways.

Date Of Project Completion

The resulting facility will be a state-of-the-art training facility for AC Transit’s own mechanics, operators, and service employees. ZEBU will also be a model zero-emission bus facility for training the work forces of other transit agencies. We have subsequently been selected to provide final design services for the facility which is currently under development. The project is scheduled to be completed by 2026.

Our Zero Emission Bus (ZEB) Expertise

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Zero-Emission Bus (ZEB) initiative for 2040 represents a new frontier in transportation and sustainability. We recognize that there is no “one size fits all” solution, so we have combined our transit agency expertise, a full suite of tailored solutions, and key specialty partners to help transit agencies make the ZEB transition. Learn more.

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