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Step 8: Implement Your Campaign

Step 8

How can you keep your campaign on track?

The following lessons learned from past idling reduction projects across Canada can help keep your campaign on track and ensure an efficient and engaging process:

  • Spend sufficient time seeking and obtaining partners for your campaign – partnerships are the key to success;
  • Ensure you have a dedicated idling champion;
  • Get your own house in order – before you ask others to reduce idling. This increases the legitimacy of your campaign by showing your commitment to idling (e.g. workplace initiatives, idling reduction policies);
  • Invest in your staff and technology – this will have many paybacks in the long run;
  • Be flexible – in order to take advantage of unique opportunities (e.g. one-time community events);
  • Make sure your timing is right – for example, for school based campaigns, run initiatives early in the year so that there is no competition from exams/end of year activities;
  • Get the word out about your campaign – web-sites are a good low-cost option; and,
  • Appreciate your volunteers.

The following trouble-shooting guide highlights key issues or challenges that could occur throughout the life of a campaign, and potential solutions to address the challenge.

Idling Reduction Campaign Trouble-Shooting Guide [PDF 00 KB] [DOC 00 KB] <Part of Phase 2 >

Idling Reduction Campaign Trouble-Shooting Guide
Challenge Possible Resolutions
There is no consensus on which campaign approach should be used
  • Bring all partners and affected stakeholders together and engage an external facilitator to help guide the discussion (e.g. senior staff from another department).
  • Ensure all partners, stakeholders, and campaign organizers have relevant information on different approaches to use, benefits and weaknesses of each, and case studies from other municipalities and organizations.
There is internal resistance to idling reduction initiatives
  • Consult with internal departments that would be affected by idling reduction regulations to ensure their concerns are addressed.
  • Promote supervisors as role models.
  • Focus on the “bottom line” line benefits (improved fuel efficiency, reduced engine wear).
  • Build political support through workshops and group or one-on-one conversations.
  • Emphasize reducing the portion of idling deemed to be “unnecessary” or avoidable without sacrificing current operations or services.
  • Purchase vehicles equipped with automatic idle shutdown timers.
Council or Senior Management resistance due to cost
  • Highlight short and long-term costs of the campaign compared to the costs to the health care system of not improving air quality.
  • Apply for available funding and grants (see Step 5).
  • Engage students in the development and implementation of your campaign – as a resource saving initiative, and a learning opportunity for students (e.g. to collect data, to design graphics, etc.).
There is a strong perception among bus fleet operators that idling is required for passenger comfort
  • Demonstrate that new diesel engines can be restarted without difficulty even after having been off for only a short period.
  • Adopt new technology (e.g. high-capacity air conditioners).
  • Provide areas for bus drivers to wait together in winter, or encourage waiting in one bus so that other buses do not have to run.
There is public resistance to idling reduction initiatives (e.g. seen through criticisms in local newspapers, etc.)
  • Take advantage of increasing awareness of deteriorating air quality to draw attention to the importance of idling reduction.
  • Present a powerful environmental and health-related rationale linked to other provincial and federal initiatives.
  • Write letters to local newspapers in response to criticisms and to correct any misconceptions.
There is resistance from local businesses or other partners to placing “Idle-Free Zone” signs on property
  • Approach Chambers of Commerce and other umbrella organizations early on in the campaign to gain their endorsement and support.
  • Identify the business leaders and community leaders in your community and encourage them to be a role model and support the idling reduction campaign.
It is not possible to put up Idle-Free Zone signs adjacent to hotspot areas (e.g. designated fire routes)
  • Consider alternative locations – walls, fences, and existing signposts – that are as close as possible to where the most amount of idling is occurring but where the sign will be clearly visible to drivers.


The following case study illustrates how flexibility is needed in project implementation for on-the-spot changes. This may provide you with additional tips to keep in mind as you are working through Step 8 (Implement Your Campaign).

Idling Reduction Campaigns in Mississauga and Greater Sudbury
Target Locations: Schools, Transit Drop-Off Zones
Target Audiences: Parents, General Public

In some instances, idling reduction programs need to be flexible to allow for on-the-spot adjustments and to ensure the best use of resources. As part of the idling reduction campaigns in the City of Mississauga and Greater Sudbury, the campaign signs needed to be relocated. In both cities, the locations for the 3 or 4 metal idling reduction signs assigned to each school posed some challenges. In Mississauga, much of the idling occurred in designated pick-up and drop-off zones called “kiss-and-ride” areas. In the morning, these areas functioned much like drive-thru lanes at fast food restaurants, with parents dropping off their children and then continuing on. In many cases, these areas were posted with “no stopping or “no parking” signs. As such, the introduction of “no idling” signs was not possible in these areas, hence signs had to be posted elsewhere on the school property.

In Greater Sudbury, one of the best locations for the “Idle-Free Zone” signs was found to be on the existing “school bus loading zone” signposts. In some cases, idling was most prevalent in areas adjacent to and outside of school properties, such as on a nearby street. In these instances, approval from the local municipality was needed to erect the signs. The key objective was to install the signs as close as possible to the areas where idling was occurring, without contradicting signs already posted, or contravening any municipal by-laws. The key to success was good communication with school or municipal personnel to discuss issues relating to sign placement and installation.

Find out more about the Mississauga program at Idle Free Mississauga and about the Sudbury program on the Greater Sudbury municipal website


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