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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 1331, Portland, OR 97204

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Idle-Free Schools

Safe Routes to School works to reduce traffic congestion and harmful idling fumes around schools in the Portland area. Our Idle-Free Schools Toolkit is available to help spread the word that idling is especially hazardous for children and should be reduced around school drop-off and pick-up areas. Why is idling harmful? Here are a few facts about the effects of idling:

  • Vehicle exhaust 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.
  • 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.

What's in the Toolkit?

  • Up to four metal signs to mount on school property. 
  • Educational and promotional materials, including newsletter content, social media graphics, posters and flyers.

Sign reads "Turn Engine Off - Young Lungs at Work"

How to Request Your Idle-Free School Toolkit:

Step 1: Let the school's principal know about the toolkit requirements and get written or verbal approval.

  • Requirements: In order to make the greatest impact, we require educational materials to be distributed along with the posted metal signs. The metal signs can only be installed on school property. No city-owned poles or sign posts may be used. The metal signs will need to be installed by the school with parts provide by the school. 

Step 2: Fill out Order Form, including Pre-Survey

Fill out the order form and select your educational and promotional materials. The signs will be delivered within two weeks.

The pre-survey helps us understand what people know about idling and how many cars are idling at the school before the toolkit is implemented. We ask that you write in a description and use the tally sheet to complete the pre-survey.

Step 3: Install Signs and Distribute Educational Materials

Step 4: Post-Survey

Are fewer parents idling? Does the school community know more about the effects of idling? Let us know through the post-survey. Just like the pre-survey, we ask that you write in a description and use the tally sheet to complete the post-survey to capture what happened after the toolkit was implemented. We will send you a post-survey via email 6 months after your toolkit is delivered.