Taxis, commuters, bicyclists, buses, delivery vehicles pack New York City streets every day. Most have simple destinations: point A to point B and maybe point C. Delivery trucks and vans, however, stop often at regular destinations. While double parking and impeding traffic seem to be necessary evils, these long delivery stops, have a dirty underside - idling.
Idling increases vehicle exhaust in the air, which is linked to asthma, other lung diseases, allergies, heart disease, and other health problems. According to New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection, New York City has one of the highest asthma rates among children in the country.
DEP also says that engine idling in New York City causes as much pollution as nine million large trucks driving from the Bronx to Staten Island. In addition, the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide emanates from tailpipes. Finally, idling wastes both fuel and money: between 1/5 to 7/10 of a gallon of fuel an hour and one gallon of fuel per hour for diesel trucks. How much money is that? According to DEP it amounts to $28 million.
Enter Green Loading Zones, a policy to incentivize electric truck adoption by creating curbside loading zones exclusively available to zero-emission commercial vehicles. GLZs would act as safe harbors for clean vehicles, allowing them to avoid citations. There would be a reservation system for the GLZs, thereby reducing the time and frustration required to find a legal curbside space. Double parking would no longer be a necessary evil.
Dahni El Giles
Integration of charging capability in a GLZ would allow battery electric vehicles to charge while loading and unloading. HEVO Power, a Brooklyn based startup, creates wireless chargers for electric vehicles thereby eliminating the sight of chargers, tripping hazards, plug-in charger vandalism, and other plug-in charger costs.
Currently, curbside idling for longer than 3 minutes - and 1 minute if adjacent to a school – is illegal in the city and punishable by a fine of $350 or more. However, due to lack of enforcement and the relative low cost citation, commercial drivers idle.
New York could speed GLZ adoption and reduce air pollution, gas consumption, and double-parking by banning idling with strict enforcement. That may be the new standard in the near future.
In a limited or idle-free world, Green Loading Zones could work well. Imagine applying the same infrastructure - dedicated zones and wireless power - to food trucks or even ambulances which currently spend up to 12 hours per day at designated waiting locations around New York City while idling to power onboard medicines and electronics.
With Green Loading Zones, New York City could drive and breathe easy.
Dahni-El Giles is HEVO Power general counsel and operations director.