Truck Idling and Particulates

When I gave my job talk at USC, I discussed some of my research on how to get truckers to to shut off their engines. My colleagues have since told me they thought this was a dog of topic–it wasn’t a “big enough question”– but I made it entertaining so they hired me anyway based on the strength of my other work.

Well, it’s not a dog of a topic. Getting truckers and rail companies to shut off would alleviate PM2.5 hotspots in many locations, including parts of rust belt Pennsylvania. My friend Sacha sent this to me, as she found it at the American Academy of Sciences:

It was very much like Sacha to send me this little reminder that my work, though often treated like it’s uninteresting because it doesn’t have sexy, newspaper-ready sound bites, attempts to demonstrate how important seemingly small changes can be in the real-life environments that poor people occupy. Since my job talk, I’ve been somewhat embarrassed by the research on truck idling that we did–I’ve made excuses, etc–but forget that. I was right and the naysayers were wrong, and this work deserves more respect than it got.

Schweitzer, L., Brodrick, C-J, , and S. Spivey. 2008. “Truck Driver Environmental Attitudes and Behaviors: An Exploratory Analysis.”  Transportation Research Part D. 13 (3): 141-150.