Examining Bus Idling on the Dickinson Campus

As a mid-Atlantic transportation hub, Carlisle faces serious air quality challenges. The highly visible trucking industry is not the only contributor to air pollution in the form of so-called PM 2.5 particles. Dickinson College itself contributes by virtue of being a tour destination and a host to many intercollegiate and high school sporting events. Diesel-powered motor coaches — buses — frequently park on the campus.  Act 124, the  state law that places limits on idling by semi-tractors (trucks), also applies to buses (see the Health Studies seminar study on truck-idling).

At the request of Dr. Les Poolman, Director of Athletics, members of Prof. Jim Hoefler’s Foundations in Policy Studies (PMGT/LAWP 200) examined bus idling at Dickinson. Two research teams estimated the extent of compliance with Act 124 requirements by buses that park on the campus, learned what other colleges do to limit idling, why bus drivers may fail to limit idling, sought advice from government, health advocacy groups, and college officials, identified the key problems, and proposed follow up actions.

Copies of the team’s reports are here and here.

Thanks to the work of the class, the college has critical information and action plans for fulfilling its obligations under Act 124.