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Idling Gets You Nowhere

What is Idling?

Idling is when a driver leaves the engine running and the vehicle parked. Everyday in the U.S. millions of cars and trucks idle needlessly, sometimes for hours. In the Chicago Metropolitan Region, passenger car idling is responsible for more than 25 tons per day of ozone causing emmissions. You may not be able to avoid keeping your engine running when you're stopped at a traffic signal or stuck in slow-moving traffic. But try to remember to turn the engine off when you are parked at schools, parks, transit statioin kiss and rides, in pharmacy or bank drive-thrus, at senior facilities or hospitals. Communities can create "No Idling Zones" to discourage idling with signage, marketing and educational tools from Clean Air Counts.

What benefits do this strategy provide?
Improve regional air quality and public health. VOCs contribute to increased production of ground-level ozone, or smog, that inflames lung tissue and aggravates a range of respiratory ailments, including asthma. One avenue to address this public health issue is by discouraging unnecessary idling. Within the Chicago region, passenger car idling accounts for 25 tons of VOC, NOx and CO emissions per day in the summer. Creating a "No Idling Zone" can reduce pollution by hundreds of pounds each day.

Have any communities implemented such a program?

The Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, along with various partners, has already created several no idling zones. Lombard and Northbrook pilotted this program in 2007. The communities posted "No Idling Zones" at schools and engaged in educational events to change behavior. Since then several communities have created "No Idlins Zones".

How do we get started?
To start a idling reduction program and create "No Idling Zones", identify locations where cars idle. Those may include shools, parks, train stations, pharmacy drive thrus. Work in partnership with municipalities, schools, park districts and other stakeholders. Be sure to support your signage with educational materials and events to raise awareness and change behavior.

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