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Analyzing Engine Idling Reduction Opportunities at Three Ontario Ski Resorts

This paper emphasizes the opportunities available to communicate the linkages between the enjoyment of skiing and snowboarding with the need to adopt more sustainable behaviours that reduce emissions responsible for climate change. During the 2009 winter season, the Engine Idling Reduction Program (EIRP) was piloted at three Ontario ski resorts by gathering data on the current state of unnecessary idling behaviour at ski resorts. Data collection included a timing stage, which recorded the average idling time, and a counting stage, which recorded the total number of idling vehicles in each idle-free zone during the pre-launch phase (baseline measurement) and post-launch phase of the EIRP. A total of 6,094 personal vehicles were observed through the phases of EIRP (Blue Mountain n=3,165; Craigleith n=1,114; Glen Eden n=1,815). Between the pre and post-launch phases, a public education campaign to reduce unnecessary idling was organized, which had an estimated audience of 126,000 drivers and guests. The greenhouse gas (GHG)emissions generated by idling vehicles during the pre-launch and post-launch phase were then compared by converting the total GHG emissions per number of vehicles observed into the projected amount of GHG emissions per 1000 vehicles. Results revealed that when compared to the baseline conditions, the average overall incidences of idling decreased by 6.8%, reducing projected GHG emissions by 154.7 kg of CO2 per 1000 vehicles across all three resorts. The flow of vehicles in and out of drop-off/pick-up areas was observed to impact the duration and incidences of engine idling. Opportunities exist for ski resort managers to enhance the guest experience, increase operational efficiency and decrease idling times through improved vehicle flow to and from parking areas.

This paper was published in the 45th Annual Conference Proceedings of the Canadian Transportation Research Forum (May 30 - June 2, 2010).

Authors:  Michelle Rutty, Lindsay Matthews and Tania Del Matto.