The push to drastically reduce pollutants from idling trucks is entering a new phase as the first part of a nationwide plan to implement idle reduction technology has been completed. Researchers with the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) have finished the first phase of a three-year project for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designed to help reduce the estimated 500 tons of nitrogen oxides released into the atmosphere each day by idling trucks. It is estimated that these idling trucks waste 300,000 gal of fuel every day.
The TTI project resulted in a nationwide deployment strategy for truck stop electrification (TSE) and a user-friendly web tool that pinpoints ideal locations for this technology.
Until recently, truckers had no option but to keep their diesel engines idling in order to power their on-board air conditioners, heaters, televisions and microwaves. Starting a few years ago, some truck stops across the country installed idle reduction technology equipment, which allows the drivers to turn off their engines and "plug-in" to the outside power supply.
"Although truck stop electrification locations have grown from only a few to the current 100 sites across the country, we would eventually like to see them deployed in critical locations from an air quality perspective yet conveniently spaced for the trucking community to utilize," said Margo T. Oge, director of the EPA Office of Transportation and Air Quality. "This work by TTI will help local and state governments as well as other entities concerned with air quality pursue the best places to install emission reduction equipment."
The project identified 15 major truck corridors along the interstate system of the U.S. and prioritized potential locations for the idle reduction technology. "We used criteria such as corridor length, major activity centers, truck volume, truck growth rates, non-attainment areas, existing TSE sites, number of truck stops, average temperatures and major intersections to determine these locations," said TTI researcher Joe Zietsman.
The web tool generated from the TTI project enables users to zoom to a map of a state, corridor or a specific zone within the corridor. Information about that area is on-screen, including the truck stops in the zone that can be converted to TSE locations. The web tool is located on the TTI website, http://tse.tamu.edu/.