School may increase traffic, decrease air quality

Air District asks parents to carpool, refrain from idling to reduce vehicle emissions during pick-up and drop-off


FRESNO – Traffic increases as parents begin shuttling kids back to school, and so do the ozone levels in the air. Parents can help reduce vehicle emissions by carpooling and refraining from vehicle idling during school pick-ups and drop-offs. In addition, Valley residents are urged to reduce vehicle emissions by driving less, driving electric or other fuel-efficient vehicles, and avoiding the use of drive-through services. 

This is especially important as multiple wildfires are impacting Valley air quality and the public’s help is crucial in preventing spikes in ground-level ozone and exceedances of federal air quality standards.

Valley air quality has shown tremendous improvement over the past several years. These improvements would not be possible without the success of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District’s strategy through its various attainment planning efforts, its robust incentive programs, and the commitment from Valley stakeholders, businesses and residents doing their part to reduce emissions as much as possible.

To ensure that these clean air trends continue and to help minimize pollution associated with school site vehicle idling, the Air District has partnered with hundreds of Valley schools through the Healthy Air Living Schools program. The program gives schools materials and tools to encourage parents to “Turn the Key & Be Idle Free.” In addition, the program trains schools on how to use the health-protective Real-time Air Advisory Network (RAAN), which provides hourly air quality and corresponding outdoor activity recommendations to protect student health. To learn more, request a presentation or get signed up, visit or email [email protected].

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