About the ESB Initiative |
About World Resources Institute’s Electric School Bus Initiative

Collaborating to equitably electrify the U.S. school bus fleet.

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Students walk to a yellow school bus.

Our mission 

In collaboration with partners and communities, WRI’s Electric School Bus Initiative aims to build unstoppable momentum toward an equitable transition of the entire U.S. school bus fleet to electric by 2030, bringing health, climate and economic benefits to children and families across the country and normalizing electric mobility for an entire generation. 

Our history 

In partnership with the Bezos Earth Fund, World Resources Institute established the Electric School Bus Initiative in late 2020 with the goal of building unstoppable momentum toward electrifying the full U.S. school bus fleet by 2030. This project builds upon and leverages WRI’s experience partnering with cities around the world to advance sustainable transportation systems, including extensive engagements focused on transit electrification and working to advance clean power options. 

Our establishing partner: Bezos Earth Fund

The Electric School Bus Initiative was established in partnership with Bezos Earth Fund.

Learn more about Bezos Earth Fund

Our work 

Together with partners, WRI is working in six areas of focus, whereby we:  

Support school districts in accelerating the equitable transition to electric school buses. 

We are partnering with school districts and school transportation providers to get more electric school buses on the road in more districts nationwide. We’re developing guides, planning documents, tools and resources to help any district begin or continue its electrification journey, and we’re supporting individual school districts with technical assistance with a focus on low-income communities, communities of color, Tribal/Indigenous communities and those disproportionately impacted by diesel exhaust pollution. With record levels of electric school bus investments on the way, we’re also helping school districts access federal, state and utility funds, prioritizing historically underserved districts. 

Collaborate with manufacturers across the electric school bus supply chain in preparing for an equitable and sustainable transition.

We are engaging manufacturing supply chain stakeholders to identify industry bottlenecks and increase electric school bus capacity and availability. We’re collaborating with manufacturers, suppliers, partner organizations, community colleges and other stakeholders to foster an equitable transition from fossil fuels to electric school buses with a focus on workforce preparation. This work is in part informed by our Manufacturing & Supply Chain Steering Committee.

Work with electric utilities to improve interconnection and investments for electric school bus charging infrastructure, including supportive rates and tariffs. 

We are bringing together electric utilities, policymakers, school districts and private fleet operators to identify and advance equity-oriented electric system solutions. This includes innovative opportunities in managed charging, vehicle-to-grid (V2G) and vehicle-to-anything (V2X) technologies designed to improve grid reliability and resiliency, provide mobile power during disasters and advance renewable energy integration. 

Facilitate understanding of electric school bus business models and promote the expansion of funding and finance options in the electric school bus market.

We’re building a clearinghouse of funding and financing opportunities to improve information access, developing a framework that can be used to understand new business models, and providing a total cost of ownership calculator so districts and other stakeholders can weigh economic considerations.  

Engage policymakers at the federal, state and municipal levels to reduce barriers to equitable school bus electrification. 

We’re helping communities make their voices heard and advocating for solutions that drive an equity-first transition to electric school buses. This includes work to usher in policy solutions, funding and financing options. 

Center communities in pursuing school bus electrification and work with community-focused organizations to help provide the tools and resources to make it happen.

We are working collaboratively with community-based organizations many of whom have been leading in the electric school bus space for years to bring about an equitable transition to electric school buses. We're working to center the voices of community members in every school district.

The ESB Initiative is collaborating with school districts, advocacy organizations, electric utilities, manufacturers, financing entities and policymakers across the U.S. to accelerate an equitable transition to electric school buses.  

As of June 2022, WRI is providing its highest level of tailored technical assistance in school districts in 11 states: California, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington. The ESB Initiative has also identified 12 priority states for dedicated advocacy and policy outreach: California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon and South Carolina. We continue to work in additional states through partnership with other stakeholders as well.  

Our resources

In addition to direct engagement, the ESB Initiative develops a wide range of free public resources to help facilitate an equitable transition to electric school buses. Find everything you need, including resources developed by others in the electric school bus space, all in one spot at the Electric School Bus Initiative Resource Library. With more than 100 searchable resources, it's your single stop for tools, information and more!

Search the Resource Library

Our values 

We envision a future in which all people starting with members of historically underserved communities enjoy the health, environmental and economic benefits of electric mobility.  This work is driven by seven core values: 

Equity

We will lead with equity while centering intersectionality. We recognize how past and current systems of structural racism and discrimination result in environmental injustices and the marginalization of people with disabilities, low-income, Black, Tribal, Indigenous and communities of color throughout the U.S. We recognize that we have an opportunity and a responsibility to mitigate these injustices. Therefore, by working with our partners and stakeholders, we will increase access to electric school buses for communities that have been historically marginalized by centering equity in our processes, procedures and distribution of resources. 

Integrity

We will be transparent in our work with our partners and stakeholders. We will utilize monitoring, evaluation and learning feedback loops to create a culture of accountability and ensure our processes and outcomes do not perpetuate injustices to historically underserved communities. 

Innovation

We will incorporate new ideas, creative thinking and technologies to engage with our partners in an inclusive and equitable manner and co-create solutions for the transition of the U.S. school bus fleet to electric. 

Urgency

We will prioritize solutions that address the fact that underserved and environmental justice communities have waited too long for the implementation of solutions that address their needs, concerns, and historic exclusion from the economic opportunity and benefits of sustainable transport. 

Independence

We will utilize a data driven approach to create momentum that does not sacrifice equity, while remaining uncompromised by external pressures, including partisan politics, institutional or personal allegiances, or sources of financial support. 

Respect

As we humbly enter into this project, we acknowledge the many years of work of other organizations leading the way and aim to collaboratively build on that work in the effort to address the equity implications of school bus mobility at the federal, state and community levels. We will support the development of transparent and inclusive decision-making processes, where the voices, experiences and needs of community-based stakeholders are valued. 

Trust

We will continue to safeguard the trust of our partners, stakeholders and the public by being fair, just and transparent in our decision-making, and mindful in our relationships and communications.    

Our equity principles

In collaboration with members of its Advisory Council, WRI's Electric School Bus Initiative created the following equity principles to support the project's commitment to centering equity throughout its activities and objectives: 

  • Address historical and structural injustices 
  • Build trust, listen, learn and adapt 
  • Be transparent, accountable and collaborative 
  • Prioritize people over vehicles, profit, property or placemaking 

Our networks

WRI’s Electric School Bus Initiative is facilitating networks, working groups and steering committees for stakeholders across the nation. These networks include our Utility Working Group, our Manufacturing & Supply Chain Steering Committee, and a school district working group and industry working group both hosted by our partner CALSTART. To learn more about these groups, click here

Learn more

Our Advisory Council 

The Electric School Bus Initiative Advisory Council plays a key role in guiding the Initiative toward the goal of equitably electrifying the full fleet of U.S. school buses by 2030. 

Comprised of leading figures in fields including nonprofit advocacy, education, public policy, utility management, environmental justice and electrification, the Advisory Council provides invaluable insights and perspectives on priorities across the Initiative. 

See the full Advisory Council and learn more here. 

Our partners 

The ESB Initiative is proud to partner with environmental, equity and research organizations helping to advance an equitable and rapid transition to electric school buses nationwide. Many of these partners work directly with community leaders and members to support their engagement and center their voices in districts across the country. 

See our full list of organizational partners here. 

Work with us

From contracting opportunities to job postings, find ways to get involved in the equitable transition to electric school buses at the professional level.

Learn more

Our staff 

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ESB Initiative staff members stand in front of an electric school bus.
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A group of people stand on a brick surface smiling.

Staff working on the Electric School Bus Initiative include: 

Project Leadership & Advisors 

School District Support & Research  

Manufacturing & Workforce Development 

Electric Utilities & Financial Solutions 

Public Policy 

Communications & Engagement  

Equity  

  • Carla Walker, Director, Environmental Justice and Equity 
  • Caitlin Macomber,  Environmental Justice & Equity Research Analyst 
  • Eleanor Jackson,  Electric Mobility Research & Communications Analyst
  • Elizabeth Moses, Environmental Rights and Justice Associate, Environmental Democracy Practice 
  • Jesse Worker, Senior Associate, Climate Governance and Rights; Project Lead, The Access Initiative 

Measurement, Evaluation, Learning, Research & Operations  

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Primary Contacts:
Katherine Roboff