California Assembly Bill 181 requires school districts to develop transportation service plans in consultation with air quality management districts. “SEC. 14. 39800.1. (b) (1) The Plan shall be developed in consultation with classified staff, teachers, school administrators, regional local transit authorities, local air pollution control districts and air quality management districts, parents, pupils, and other stakeholders.”
The District recommends Transportation Plans include clean air measures that will further improve air quality for the residents of Yuba and Sutter counties. As feasible, each plan should include mobile source-related clean-air measures. To assist with these goals, the District offers numerous strategies and incentive-based programs, as noted below.
Reduce Idling of Heavy-Duty Vehicles
The goal of this strategy is to limit the potential for localized PM2.5 and toxic air contaminant impacts associated with the idling of heavy-duty vehicles (e.g school buses). The diesel exhaust from idling has the potential to cause significant adverse health impacts. As such, the District recommends the Plan consider a measure for compliance of the state anti-idling regulation (13 CCR § 2485 and 13 CCR § 2480) and discuss the importance of limiting the amount of idling, especially nearby and within the boundaries of a school.
Heavy Duty Vehicle Routing
The District recommends the Plan consider evaluating heavy-duty vehicle (e.g. school buses) routing patterns, with the goal of this strategy limiting exposure of residential communities to diesel exhaust emissions. This evaluation would consider the current heavy-duty vehicle routes, the destination of each trip, traffic volume correlation with the time of day or day of the week, and overall vehicle miles traveled. The heavy-duty vehicle routing evaluation would also identify alternative heavy-duty vehicle routes and their impacts on vehicle miles traveled and air quality.
Drop Off & Pick Up No Idling Policy for Schools
Schools are encouraged to adopt no idling campaigns and communicate to students and parents about the hazards of idling vehicles. Among other adverse effects, engines left idling generate a large amount of harmful pollution into the air, which poses a threat to student health, and can affect asthma and various long-term health effects.
School Designs and Active Transportation
For new school developments, there may be opportunities to reduce traffic-related pollution exposure through careful school site design. Incorporating active transportation, such as safe walking trails and bike lanes to and from schools, can help reduce traffic-related pollution by reducing the number of buses and passenger vehicles nearby. When safe alternatives exist, biking and walking to school along routes with lower traffic volumes may help reduce exposure to pollution and safety hazards.
The Safe Routes to School National Partnership provides many resources on promoting safe walking and biking.