Going idle-free with the city of Raleigh, Engineering Services Department and Vehicle Fleet Services Division. (L-R) Assistant Fleet Manager Jake Maynard, Fleet Analyst Hydeiah Brown, Administrative Specialist Victoria Teytud, Procurement Analyst, Tyler Carpenter, Fleet Operations Manager Rick Longobart, Assistant Fleet Manager Victor Avila.  -  Photo: City of Raleigh

Going idle-free with the city of Raleigh, Engineering Services Department and Vehicle Fleet Services Division. (L-R) Assistant Fleet Manager Jake Maynard, Fleet Analyst Hydeiah Brown, Administrative Specialist Victoria Teytud, Procurement Analyst, Tyler Carpenter, Fleet Operations Manager Rick Longobart, Assistant Fleet Manager Victor Avila.

Photo: City of Raleigh

In a recent conversation with Rick D. Longobart, fleet operations manager for the city of Raleigh, North Carolina, the significance of idling vehicles in park without a business purpose emerged as a critical concern. With over four decades of experience in government fleet management, including extensive tenure at municipalities in California and fleet consulting, he's keenly aware of the hidden costs of outdated idling practices.

Longobart emphasized that idling modern diesel and gasoline engines based on myths handed down from the 1960s and 70s incurs substantial downstream expenses for government fleets. Beyond the obvious fuel waste, he highlighted the consequential impacts on vehicle lifecycle and maintenance costs, which are integral to the comprehensive 'cost of ownership' analysis.

Recognizing the imperative for change, the city of Raleigh embarked on a pilot program in collaboration with the unique IDLE FREE for our Kids program, implementing an innovative idle reduction behavior modification initiative. The success of this pilot, marked by a 90% favorability rating among fleet users and stakeholders, has spurred plans for broader driver behavioral modification tied to telematics in 2024.

Fleet Analyst Hydeiah Brown, Procurement Analyst Tyler Carpenter, Fleet Operations Manager Rick Longobart, Assistant Fleet Manager Victor Avila.  -  Photo: City of Raleigh

Fleet Analyst Hydeiah Brown, Procurement Analyst Tyler Carpenter, Fleet Operations Manager Rick Longobart, Assistant Fleet Manager Victor Avila.

Photo: City of Raleigh

Longobart stressed the importance of not only measuring idling behavior but also fostering genuine driver engagement in reducing idle time, both at work and at home. Leveraging state-of-the-art telematics, Raleigh is poised to inspire and measure meaningful shifts in driver practices.

The 2023 pilot report underscores Vehicle Fleet Services assertion that idling represents "the cost avoidance metric" in government fleet operations. Through the GoGreen Communications Idle Reduction Opportunity Assessment, Raleigh's fleet stood to realize significant cost, fuel, and carbon emission reductions by achieving high predictive outcome of a 50% reduction in idle time over two years.

The predictive estimates* paint a compelling picture for budget managers, with potential cost savings of $6,116,382 and a substantial carbon footprint reduction of 3,786 tons. While acknowledging the variability inherent in behavior modification initiatives, Longobart remains optimistic about the transformative impact of embracing an idle reduction culture.

As government fleets navigate towards a more sustainable and cost-efficient future, his advocacy for idle reduction serves as a beacon, illuminating the path to enhanced operational efficiency and environmental stewardship.

*The above predictive outcomes in cost of ownership are based on data provided by the city of Raleigh June, 2023. This prediction range reflected the existing fleet mix of vehicles and fuels at this time. As with all initiatives based on modifying human behavior, a wide variance of outcomes is possible, and no precise result is implied. The above numbers represent the potential high range for improvement, based on client
data.

About the Author: Ron Zima, ADpPR, is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of GoGreen Communications Inc.

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