Every school day roughly 440,000 school buses pick up and drop off children in thousands of communities across the county. The diesel exhaust that comes from these buses has serious health implications for everyone in their vicinity. Children are especially sensitive to the air pollution caused by exhaust because their respiratory systems are still developing and they have a faster breathing rate which can increase their exposures. Reducing pollution from school buses will help improve local air quality and reduce children’s exposure to diesel exhaust. For more information about reducing pollution from school buses, visit EPA’s Clean School Bus USA website at: www.epa.gov/cleanschoolbus.
With funding from an EPA Regional Applied Research Effort (RARE) grant, Region 2 and the EPA Office of Research and Development (ORD) studied school bus exhaust emission levels during idling and restart scenarios. This important study adds to our knowledge about idling reduction benefits. The study found that the emission pulse measured after the school bus is restarted contains less carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and other pollutants than if the school bus idled continuously over a 10-minute period. The analysis indicated that continuous idling for more than three minutes emitted more fine particle (soot) emissions than at restart.
The study lends support for the Clean School Bus USA program’s goal to reduce idling. EPA will continue to work with states and local agencies, including school districts, to increase idling reduction efforts and reduce harmful air pollution to protect our children and our communities.
Testing was performed on six buses owned and operated by the Katonah-Lewisboro School District of New York.
- The study validates the reduction of diesel pollution through idling reduction programs.
- Idling reduction policies will decrease potential diesel exhaust exposure to children on and around the bus, as well as to other people in the surrounding community.
- There are things that communities can do now to reduce pollution levels including idling reduction programs, anti-caravanning practices, ensuring proper maintenance of engines, and replacing and retrofitting older buses. See EPA’s Clean School Bus USA website for more specifics and to order free materials for an idling reduction program. http://www.epa.gov/cleanschoolbus/antiidling.htm
Region 2 in partnership with EPA Region 1, the Northeastern States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) and the eight states of the Northeast formed the Northeast Diesel Collaborative. The Collaborative’s goal is to reduce diesel emissions from on-road diesel vehicles, non-road diesel equipment and locomotive and marine diesel engines by pursuing an array of diesel emission reduction strategies, including: retrofit, clean purchase (retirement and replacement), idle reduction and outreach and communication. The Northeast Diesel Collaborative provides grant opportunities for diesel retrofits. Check out the Northeast Diesel Collaborative to learn more about grant opportunities and other useful information. http://www.northeastdiesel.org