Breathe less … or ban cars: cities have radically different responses to pollution

When thick smog recently hit, Londoners were advised to avoid exercise, while Parisians got free public transport. Which is the best solution?

When a thick cloud of air pollution settled in over London last week, experts warned those with health problems to avoid strenuous exercise. The advice to Londoners essentially boiled down to this: breathe less.

Meanwhile, as Paris suffered a similar pollution episode – its worst in a decade – officials swung into action, waiving charges for public transport and restricting the number of cars allowed on roads, alternately barring those with odd and even license plates.

At the same time Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo joined officials from Madrid, Athens and Mexico City in announcing plans to get all diesel vehicles off the roads by 2025. Diesel is highly polluting, emitting far greater amounts of dangerous nitrogen dioxide and tiny pollution particles than petrol, and can cause cancer to heart attacks.

Read more … The Guardian

Air Pollution in India Reaches Dangerous Levels

The city’s high levels of fine particles — the most deadly because they penetrate more deeply into the lungs — have now soared off the charts, even by New Delhi’s standards, because of seasonal smoke from the burning of leftover crops by farmers in nearby states and from firecrackers set off to celebrate the Diwali holiday.

Levels of the smallest particles, called PM 2.5, recently hit an astounding 688 micrograms per cubic meter of air in one New Delhi neighborhood http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/08/opinion/choking-in-new-delhi.html

Smog Chokes Delhi, Leaving Residents ‘Coweringby Our Air Purifiers’

Levels of the most dangerous particles soared over the weekend in some places to more than 16 times the limit India’s government considers safe.

Read full story:  NY Times, Nov. 8, 2016

Clean Air Board Community Meeting, June 2, 2011, 7 pm

“Reducing Diesel Particulate Emissions from Construction Projects”

CAB will look at successful projects which reduced particulate emissions from diesel engines at construction sites.

The presentation will be held at the Second Presbyterian Church, 528 Garland Drive, Carlisle, PA 17013, on June 2, at 7 pm.   Join us for a discussion of this important topic.

Truck Idling And Emissions Leaves A Foul Smell In the Air: Jay Thompson

Jay Thompson, President and General Manager, Transportation Business Associates

Originally posted on Gerson Lehrman Group website

November 6, 2006

Summary

The truck idling issue is one similar to the congestion issue. We want trucks around to deliver our products, but we don’t want them around because they annoy us. It’s the classic not-in-my-back-yard issue. OK – go past a Truck Stop and the air is ripe, so it’s a valid complaint!

There are numerous products in the marketplace with a wide range of costs. Without municipalities’ legislation and owners having to address driver comfort (retention), the financial ROI is cloudy.

Analysis

One reason idle reduction devices don’t sell well is that different type operations require different solutions. Additionally, truckers are flexible and creative (on-road Engineering 101). There is also the ROI question, among others. To some it seems too logical not to do it, but then there is reality.

It is scary when we look at idle time for our (and others) trucks from on-board computers – in many cases over 50%. Surveys we have taken part in show it was basically for comfort, but also because drivers don’t want to run the risk of the truck not starting. An inaccurate assumption by some in the industry is that truck drivers spend ALL of their non-driving time in the truck. Owner-operators who pay for their fuel look at it differently than drivers. When we offered electric blankets, set truck computer to start engines periodically (heat / cooling) and implemented a fuel consumption bonus program, it dropped idle time in half. In other words, simple solutions helped.

Different operations have different issues. The major LTL folks run between hotels, which eliminates a need there. Others like FedEx Ground run teams between hubs, so the trucks keep rolling (one of the new Hours-of-Service challenges). Majors like JB Hunt are trying to focus more on getting out and back from rail terminals. Folks like Schneider are trying to do more of the same, but like to have their trucks overnight at their operating centers. Regional / local folks get trucks back home more regularly. The irregular route truckload and long-haul segments are opportunities.

A simplified look at the cost issue is: idling ($18 / night) v. Motels ($30 / night) v. auxiliary power units – APU’s ($14 fixed + $5 fuel + $1 maintenance / night) v. Truck Stop electrification ($10-20 + internet + movies / night) v. other simpler approaches. Some OEM’s have some new simple offerings, too.

The “our system is best, but you figure out how it fits you” feeling causes potential users to pause. With APU’s, the fixed cost has been coming in at 10% of new truck cost. Installing them on older trucks doesn’t make sense for many and the new engine cost is one to be swallowed first (and supposedly addresses part of exhaust / air issues). One must get into a service location for installation, servicing, etc, which is another issue. Then there is the added weight questions that needs to be reconciled between the Feds and States.

Truck Stop electrification is a HOT topic, but the experience to date leaves a lot to be desired. A bigger question is timing of trucks through one of the locations with such service to fit the drivers log books. In other words, there are not enough spots in the right geographical locations. If the system is operational (ripped hoses, etc.), are there spaces available? Many fleets / operators do not like their trucks to park in Truck Stops, as “nothing good happens there – small truck accidents, theft (especially fuel these days), solicitations, etc.” There are also conflicts (bad feelings) regarding “reserved” spots where service is versus needing to park and not wanting service. Many drivers prefer to utilize rest areas (to dismay of Truck Stop owners), Interstate entrance ramps, Walmart parking lots (who welcome trucks in return for business), etc.

One must be able to intelligently discuss the right approach with the purchaser, which needs work. It’s down to selling the ROI and we all have a lot of work to do here! Unfortunately, one size does not fit all and we must be more sophisticated in addressing individual needs.

Idle Time Truly a Waste for Truckers: John Schultz

By John Schultz Contributing Editor, Logistics Management Magazine

Originally posted on Gerson Lehrman Group website

November 2, 2006

Summary

Diesel emissions are under assault from various jurisdictions, and this is having a direct effect on the trucking industry.

This editorial strongly favors legislation that would require truckers to only run their engines while idling at truck stops for five minutes every hour. When temperatures are above 80 or under 40 Fahrenheit, slightly longer times would be allowed to cool and heat the cabs of trucks.

Although there is no federal rule in the works on this, many localities and states are taking the first steps to limit diesel exhaust, which studies are showing is a known carcinogen.

Analysis

Buddha said, “To be idle is a short road to death and to be diligent is a way of life; foolish people are idle, wise people are diligent.”

He might as well have been a trucking company executive.  Truckers are under slight but growing pressure to limit the amount of time they are allowed to “idle” at truck stops.

California is in the forefront of this. But Pennsylvania, as this editorial from the newspaper of the capital of that state, is also getting into the act.

While this may be a small thing to non-truckers, it directly affects the quality of life of truck drivers, which increasingly are in short supply. They like to run their trucks on idle while at truck stops to heat and cool their cabs, run devices like laptop computers and televisions, and also in-cab appliances such as microwaves.

Any attempt to limit idling will irritate drivers. And that might exacerbate the driver shortage, at least to a small degree.

Fortunately, there is technology on the market that will allow a small amount of power to a truck even while the engine is turned off. This is a sensible alternative, and one who’s time seems to have come. There are various small companies marketing these devices to individual drivers. But until some large fleets such as J.B. Hunt or Schneider National — each with more than 10,000 company drivers — comes on board and buys them, they probably will not be in common usage.

That’s a shame. Air quality affects all of us. Even in days of cheap fuel, having a truck idle for eight hours was a supreme waste of energy. At $2.50 a gallon diesel, it’s a costly exuberance.

The trucking lobby, both in Washington and around the nation in state trucking associations, has been silent so far on this. That’s to be expected. They really aren’t in the forefront of anything that is cutting edge. But this is one area that makes sense for companies to make a breakthrough statement for cleaner air.

Buddha would be proud.