Tue, May 17, 2011 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTER ]

Support an idle-free Taipei

One thing that everyone in Taipei can agree on is that there is too much air pollution caused by motor vehicles. Among those vehicles, scooters probably have the worst reputation and understandably so.

I have recently started a campaign directed at those who use their scooters to commute and seemingly will do so forever, regardless of improvements and expansions made to public transportation.

The name of the campaign is “Idle-Free Taipei,” and the mission is for drivers to turn off their scooter engines at all of those seemingly endless red lights that Taipei is notorious for. With the help of a friend, I found that this idea has already been discussed, even with the prospect that it might one day become a law.

For the past two months I have been driving all around Taipei during the morning and evening rush hours with a watch and a camera trying to get a better idea of how much idling occurs. I found that at a single traffic light, the cumulative stoppage for scooters can be up to, and even more than 80 minutes.

Taking precise notes of all my travels at different times and in different areas of the city, I also discovered that scooters stop at traffic lights at a very consistent average of 1.4 times per kilometer driven. In addition, the average time spent waiting at a traffic light is 63 seconds, which means that for every 1km driven, the typical scooter is idling for approximately 86 seconds (which averages to about 35 percent of the total commute time).

Once you take the number of scooters in Taipei and multiply it by the average commute distance, it is easy to see how much idling is really going on.

I did multiple trials with my own scooter and found that I burn 0.15 liters an hour by idling alone. If this is any indication of other scooters in Taipei, then scooter commuters are burning an obscene amount of fuel every minute, let alone every day.

There have been numerous myths created concerning idling, such as the myth that it takes more fuel to restart an engine. This has been disproven and it turns out that more 10 seconds of idling uses more fuel and causes more wear on the starter, battery, etc, than it would to restart the scooter.

Conveniently, the majority of traffic lights in Taipei let us know when we will be stopping for more than 10 seconds, which is the foundation for Idle-Free Taipei.

I am hoping to reach as many people as possible with this campaign. Our Web site, www.Idle-FreeTaipei.com, has facts in both Chinese and English, ideas and plenty of credible sources to back the claims. If there is anything that can be done to help promote this cause, it would be greatly appreciated.

JOHN FLECKENSTEIN

Taipei

This story has been viewed 3226 times.
TOP top