November 23, 2020
Cut diesel pollution while maintaining Chicago’s robust freight business
At the crossroads of North American train and truck routes, Chicago hosts terminals of almost all U.S. and Canadian railroads. One quarter of U.S. freight passes through the region, and over half of all intermodal shipments originate from or terminate here. Daily these generate 15,000 truck trips to customers and 7,500 trips between the intermodal facilities where trains and trucks exchange freight.
The blessings of convenience and freight-related jobs come with a cost, as trains and trucks are overwhelmingly diesel.
Add Illinois to multistate electric truck agreement
While the transition to electric is underway, Chicago can act now to reduce unnecessary idling of diesels in the following ways:
Unclog freight rail movement
The Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program is key to unclogging freight rail movements. Through targeted upgrades to specific rail junctions, passenger and freight movements can be improved, thus reducing motorist delays and making rail crossings safer while improving air quality. If freight can move through Chicago more efficiently by rail, it can gain market share from long-haul trucks and reduce air pollution.
Institute off-peak delivery in congested areas
Recognizing that heavy-duty truck emissions are twice as high in congestion than in free-flow conditions, our region could institute an off-peak delivery system in congested areas. Pilots in New York City, London and Paris show nighttime deliveries can improve traffic conditions and lower travel times for daytime road users, as well as increase competitiveness for transportation companies, deliveries’ reliability for receiving businesses and daytime road safety.
Adopt and enforce idling limits
*This post originally ran in Crain’s Chicago Business.