Driver behavior strategies to reduce idling:
-Driver education on how idling reduction strategies can improve local air quality by decreasing vehicle emissions
-Avoid using remote starters or drive-throughs which encourages unnecessary idling
-Obey no-idle zone signs in areas with a high proportion of vulnerable individuals, such as near schools or other locations
-Financial incentives to reward drivers who idle less
Idle reduction technologies (IRT) to reduce emissions:
-Stop-start vehicle technology
-GPS tracking software
-Auxiliary power systems
-Automatic power management systems
-Waste-heat recovery systems
-Hybridization or electrification of vehicles
Additionally, making infrastructure modifications in areas with vulnerable populations can reduce vehicle idling by improving the flow of traffic and preventing unnecessary stops and starts. One example of a road modification is implementing roundabouts at intersections instead of four-way stops.
How it Helps
No-idling policies can be easily implemented through ordinances that can be enforced by the city or county.3 First, the policy needs to be introduced to the community, and local governments need to identify key stakeholders. Individual schools can also introduce their own idle reduction campaigns to their parent-teacher association (PTA) which outlines practices to be followed by parents, teachers, and bus drivers.
Developing educational and awareness campaigns can help ensure the success of no-idling policies by informing community members of the importance of idling reduction.3 This can be done through promotional signs, digital flyers, newspaper ads, or television commercials.
It is also beneficial to educate drivers on the available transportation technologies—such as stop-start or electrification features—that are beneficial to health.
It may be helpful to subsidize IRT technologies to encourage widespread adoption, particularly for lower-income families who would not normally be able to afford this technology.
Once the no-idling policy is implemented, there should also be a clear method of tracking vehicles who adhere to the policy.
1) EPA Sample School Bus Idling Policy
The EPA offers a sample school bus idling policy document that can be used as a model for school districts to establish an idle reduction policy and reduce emissions from school buses. This includes recommendations such as:
-Turning off engine quickly at loading or unloading areas
-Only turning on the engine when the bus is ready to depart
-Shorten commute times, when possible
2) EPA Idle-Free Schools Toolkit
The EPA also offers an Idle-Free Schools Toolkit that includes information on how to implement a successful idling reduction campaign at the school-level.