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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204

More Contact Info

Idle-Free Schools Program

Idling Gets You Nowhere 

Safe Routes to School works to reduce traffic congestion and harmful idling fumes around schools in the Portland area through a number of different programs. We also have a small toolkit available to assist in spreading the word that idling is especially hazardous for children and should be reduced around school pick-up and drop-off areas.

Idle Free Zone PosterOur Anti-Idling Tool Kit includes:

  • One or more metal signs to post on your school property, ideally visible from where cars line up during pick-up and drop-off times. They look like the image on the right. **Please note: Our Idle Free Zone signs are only available for public schools within Portland. We are happy to share native files with your school to print your own signs.**

  • Supporting information to help spread the word of why cars should avoid idling near your school and around the city. This could include a newsletter template, brochures, posters or backpack flyers, all translated into languages preferable for your school.

 Take these steps to get your own Anti-Idling Tool Kit:

1. Principal Permission - Get in touch with your school principal to make sure they are on board with reducing idling around your school. They will need to contact Safe Routes to School to request the signs and support.

2. Email Safe Routes - Have your principal email us at to request Anti-Idling signs for your school property.

The metal signs will need to be installed by the school and with parts provided by the school. They can only be installed on school property, so no city-owned poles or signs may be used.

3. Spread the Word - Choose one or more ways to help spread the word about how harmful idling can be for our kids. Safe Routes can cover printing costs and assist with design and translations to make some of the items specific to your school.

  • Article for your school's printed or electronic newsletters

  • Anti-Idling brochures with facts about how harmful exposure can be (English only)

  • Posters to hang around school with facts about not idling (can be translated and specific to your school)

  • Backpack flyer or brochure with facts about idling and reasons why your school supports anti-idling (can be translated and specific to your school)

Read the FactsAnti-Idling Graphic

  • Vehicle exhaust is hazardous to human health, especially for children. It is linked to increased rates of cancer, heart and lung disease and asthma. Children, whose lungs are still developing, breathe more rapidly and inhale more pollutants per pound of body mass than adults.

  • Vehicle exhaust is the leading source of toxic air pollution in Oregon. Nearly half of toxic air pollutants in Oregon come from vehicles releasing sulfur dioxides, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, and other toxins that contribute to carbon dioxide (CO2) levels. 

  • Idling is expensive and hard on your engine. Ten seconds of idling uses more fuel than restarting your engine. Just one hour of idling burns about one gallon of gas with zero miles per gallon. 

What Can You Do?

Turn It Off - If you are going to be stopped for more than 10 seconds (especially around schools and where children live and play).

Reduce Warm Up Idling - Modern engines don't need more than 30 seconds of idling to warm up.

Spread the Word - Talk to family, friends and neighbors about the benefits of reduced idling and encourage them to join you in contributing to a healthier community and in saving money.

Anti-Idling Sticker