Hunts Point is a peninsula occupying approximately one square mile in the southernmost section of the South Bronx, New York. This area is home to the Hunts Point Cooperative Market (The Market) which is recognized as one of, if not the, largest produce and meat markets in the world. Approximately 80 percent of the New York Metropolitan area's produce and 40 percent of the region's meat is transshipped through The Market.
Hundreds of diesel vehicles idle at The Market each day. Overall, the Hunts Point community experiences some 20,000 diesel truck trips into and out of the neighborhood each week. It is not uncommon for long-haul truck operators to layover at The Market for some eight to twelve hours at a stretch while waiting for goods or to comply with U.S. Department of Transportation rest period requirements.
Approximately 9,000 people live in a small residential section of Hunts Point near The Market. Studies have shown alarmingly high asthma rates in this neighborhood -- one out of every three children is afflicted with the disease. While a direct link between diesel exhaust exposure and childhood asthma continues to be researched, there is increasing evidence from both occupational and epidemiological studies that a significant correlation exists between the two. This public health crisis is of paramount concern to local residents of the Hunts Point community.
As one way to begin to examine opportunities to reduce the impacts of diesel exhaust in the neighborhood, Sustainable South Bronx, the New York Power Authority, and IdleAire Technologies Corporation have received a grant from Clean Air Communities in the amount of $450,000.00 to install and utilize IdleAire's advanced truck stop electrification (ATE) technology at The Market. Initially, the project partners will design, construct and operate a system capable of accommodating 28 trucks on a 24-hour per day basis.
The primary goal of the project is to demonstrate the potential public health, environmental, energy efficiency, and economic benefits ATE offers by significantly reducing or altogether eliminating extended periods of diesel engine idling at The Market.
At full operation, the 28 bay project is expected to eliminate 2,000 tons of pollution annually. Broken down by pollutant, emissions of nitrogen oxides will be reduced by approximately 15 tons per year, carbon monoxide by approximately 30 tons per year, carbon dioxide by approximately 1,955 tons per year, and particulate matter by approximately one ton per year.
Longer term objectives include doubling the number of electrified bays at The Market to 60, creating a "no-idling" zone, extending the project to the adjacent produce market and proposed fish market, and installing the ATE technology at other sites around New York City and across New York State.
Energy and User Benefits
Along with public health and environmental benefits, ATE potentially offers significant advantages from an energy efficiency, economic, and operator satisfaction standpoint as well. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that each year roughly 450,000 trucks travel more than 500 miles from home daily. These long-haul trucks, while idling, consume approximately 838 million gallons of diesel fuel. ATE has the potential to cut fuel costs by more than $1,500 and maintenance costs by more than $275 annually depending on usage. If all long-haul trucks used ATE along with other anti-idling options, the total fuel savings would amount to one-half of one percent of all the fuel used for transportation in the U.S.
Numerous studies have linked driver fatigue with traffic accidents. Noise and vibration, coupled with elevated levels of carbon monoxide and other pollutants, significantly contribute to driver fatigue. ATE offers the promise of quieter and cleaner truck stops and rest areas and thus will enable operators to rest more soundly and comfortably.
The Hunts Point Cooperative Market ATE project is a true example of what can be accomplished through a coordinated, public-private partnership that seeks to reward all parties for their willingness to collaborate. Each partner stands to benefit tremendously, as does the environment. And the efforts of the group have not gone unnoticed. Administrator Whitman provided the keynote and opening remarks at the Clean Air Communities launch event in August, 2001. Held at The Market, the event showcased the ATE technology and provided an opportunity for local, state and federal officials to interact with community leaders in an actual project setting.
Clean Air Communities most recently accepted an EPA Clean Air Excellence Award 2001 on behalf of the ATE project partners in Washington D.C on March 5, 2002 in the community redevelopment category.