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

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Clean School Bus Initiative

Isabell Berger

Erie County

Department of Environment and Planning

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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What can you do?

  • Diesel buses last a long time

    • Emissions will be high until vehicles retired

    • Or…

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  • 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

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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

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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%

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Other Ways to Reduce Emissions

  • Proper maintenance

  • Anti-idling

    • Practices

    • Bus cabin heaters

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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

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Why idle?

  • Keep engine warm – avoid restarting engine

  • Keep bus warm

  • Mask outside noises

  • Habit

  • Safety

  • Power

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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!

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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.

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  • 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.

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  • Perform pre and post trip inspections

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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.

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  • 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.

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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

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Clean School Bus USA

  • Clean School Bus USA:

    • Initiative to decrease diesel emissions

      from school buses.

  • Partner with schools and school districts

  • MOU

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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.

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Funding Programs

  • EPA Clean School Bus USA

  • NYSERDA Clean Air School Bus Program

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  • 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

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  • 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

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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