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Clean School Bus Initiative

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  1. Clean School Bus Initiative Isabell Berger Erie County Department of Environment and Planning

  2. Diesel School Bus Initiative • Provide information to school districts regarding the health effects of diesel fuel. • Encourage replacing the oldest school buses with newer models. • Encourage the use of alternative fuels. • Retrofit appropriate remaining buses. • Strategies to eliminate unnecessary school bus idling.

  3. Overview Buses are the safest way to transport children to school !!! • Effects of unnecessary idling • Understanding challenges related to idling • Strategies to decreaseunnecessary idling • Help available foran anti-idlingprogram

  4. Transportation Emissions Effects • Vehicles account for a third of our nation’s air pollution • Increase in asthma, premature deaths, and lost work days attributed to poor air quality cost several trillion dollars per year. • Air pollution is estimated to contribute to 50,000-120,000 premature deaths per year. • NRDC report found increase in cancer risks w/ old buses.

  5. Health Impacts • Diesel exhaust contains carcinogenic substances! • Diesel exhaust contains particulate matter which exacerbates asthma and other respiratory conditions. • Idling increases the amount of diesel exhaust that enters a bus. • Children are especially susceptible to diesel exhaust.

  6. More Health Impacts • Asthma is a leading cause of emergency room visits and missed school days for children. • Students walk by idling buses and inhale large amounts of diesel exhaust. • Idling buses often park under fresh air intakes at schools-causing diesel exhaust to get drawn into a school’s indoor air.

  7. Exhaust PM Accumulation

  8. Environmental Impacts • Smog • NOx, VOCs and PM are emitted in diesel exhaust. • In sunlight, NOx and ozone precursors (VOCs) react to create smog. • Haze • Particulate matter contributes to poor air quality. • Decreased visibility. • Poor air quality • Poor air quality=poor health: pollutants deteriorate health of humans, wildlife and the environment.

  9. Idling Observations • EPA contractor observed - • Excessive idling at majority of school sites. • Excessive idling is not just a winter phenomenon. • Most unnecessary idling occurs when students are loaded onto buses. • Excessive idling also occurs at fleet domiciles.

  10. Exceptions There are exceptions to every ‘rule’ • Temperature is below 25 degrees F • Need to defrost the windshield • Special cases – ex. need to run a wheelchair lift • Emergencies • Safety First!

  11. What can you do? • Diesel buses last a long time • Emissions will be high until vehicles retired • Or…

  12. AvailableTechnology • Clean fuel • Reduces emissions before they start • Biodiesel • Ultra-low sulfur diesel • Hybrid, fuel cell, CNG • After treatment (retrofit) • Reduces emissions in tailpipe • Auxiliary power unit

  13. Diesel Engine Retrofits • Particulate Matter Filter • Diesel engines newer than 1995 - must use ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel • Oxidation Catalyst • New or Used Diesel Engine • Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel • Mandated June 2006

  14. Effectiveness of retrofits • Retrofit devices • Diesel oxidation catalysts • Decrease particulate matter 20-30% • Diesel particulate filters • Decrease particulate matter 60-90% • Fuels • Ultra low sulfur diesel • Decrease particulate matter 5-9% alone. • Diesel water emulsification • Decreases particulate matter 10-40%

  15. Other Ways to Reduce Emissions • Proper maintenance • Anti-idling • Practices • Bus cabin heaters

  16. Why reduce idling? • Protect children’s health • Protect the environment • Decrease noise pollution • Save money • Saves fuel since idling wastes fuel • Less frequent oil changes and lower maintenance costs • More miles until overhaul required • Increase engine life

  17. Why idle? • Keep engine warm – avoid restarting engine • Keep bus warm • Mask outside noises • Habit • Safety • Power

  18. Idling Facts • Excess idling is expensive • If a school fleet has 50 buses and each bus reduces its idling time by 30 minutes a day, it saves almost $3,500 just in fuel cost when diesel costs $1.50. • Idling utilizes fuel • A school bus uses a half gallon of diesel fuel per hour of idling! • Decreasing idling decreases air pollution, protects children AND saves fuel and money!

  19. Supervisory Level Strategies • Modify bus routes • Minimize kids time on the bus • Utilize staging areas-assess bus waiting zones. • Adjust parking strategies • Change tip to tail to diagonal or parallel. • Provide indoor spaces for drivers to wait so not have to be too hot or cold on the bus. • Recognize drivers that decrease idling times.

  20. Drivers • Ask drivers to turn off buses as soon as arrive and to keep them off until they depart! • Adopt and enforce a no-idling policy for buses and vans arriving to pick up students. • Use AI signs/create and AI zone: include parents picking up kids as well as buses and vans. • Educate-bus drivers as well as school staff about your efforts to decrease idling and their exposure to diesel exhaust.

  21. Drivers • Perform pre and post trip inspections

  22. Other Strategies • Don’t idle in storage yard! • Establish a set procedure for loading children. • Wait to start buses until all kids are on the bus. • Use newest buses on the longest routes.

  23. Mechanical • Routine Maintenance • If necessary, change the circuit configuration of the bus so flashing lights run off the battery and NOT the engine. • Use alternative technologies to warm the engine and to warm the bus.

  24. Challenges to an anti-idling policy • Not address driver needs-heat/AC • Changing behaviors is difficult • Loading areas may be congested. Drivers need to be able to move in/out quickly. • Policing • Funding

  25. Clean School Bus USA • Clean School Bus USA: • Initiative to decrease diesel emissions from school buses. • Partner with schools and school districts • MOU

  26. What EPA is doing • EPA is fixing the problem with new standards for newer buses and cleaner fuels: • 2004: Engine standards: NOx, HC • 2006: Requirement that the only diesel fuel sold will be ultra low sulfur diesel • 2007: Engine standards: NOx, PM • The problems: diesel engines built prior to 2004 remain in service and emit high levels of diesel exhaust and this doesn’t deal with the idling issue.

  27. Funding Programs • EPA Clean School Bus USA • NYSERDA Clean Air School Bus Program

  28. Recommendations • Retrofit Buses • Replace Fleet with Low Emission Vehicles • Allocate the Cleanest Buses to the Longest Routes • Set Priorities • Limit Ride Duration • Perform Routine Maintenance • Work to Bring Low Sulfur Diesel to WNY • Reduce Bus Idling

  29. References • Children’s Exposure to Diesel Exhaust on School Buses (Environment & Human Health, Inc.) • Bus Futures New Technology for Cleaner Cities (Inform) • No Breathing in the Aisles: Diesel Exhaust Inside School Buses (NRDC) • Failing the Grade (California Coalition for Clean Air) • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Clean School Bus USA Program

  30. Program Contact Isabell Berger Erie County Environment and Planning (716) 858-6430 Program Sponsor U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Transportation and Air Quality