How Schools Can Address Idling Cars

Schools can do more to reduce the environmental threat posed by idling cars during drop-off or pick-up. School districts could also improve their buses with that aim in mind.

Read Time: 1 minute

February 29, 2016, 1:00 PM PST

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc


Cars Traffic

Newtown grafitti / Flickr

While student safety is of paramount concern to parents and school districts, protocols haven't mitigated the air quality threat of idling cars and buses. Angie Schmitt writes, "Every morning and afternoon at schools around the country, pick-up and drop-off times are free-for-alls of mindless idling, with tailpipes spitting poisonous chemicals into the air children breathe."

That environment can exacerbate or even cause chronic respiratory conditions like asthma. "Asthma is the most common chronic disease among children. Car exhaust can trigger attacks and may cause asthma itself, and schools are where children tend to be especially exposed."

The article cites four ways schools could encourage cleaner air as students arrive and leave.

  • Choose school sites and build street infrastructure with active transportation—walking and biking—in mind.
  • Educate parents about the issue; encourage them to turn off engines while they wait
  • Keep school bus idling to a minimum
  • Retrofit school buses with cleaner engines

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