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May 2011
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Future Roads look Green

Greenroads. GreenLITES. CEEQUAL. These are all sustainable highway tools already in place and there are even more in development. What this hopefully means is that in the future our roads, highways and bridges will have a context sensitive design that meets the three pillars of sustainability; social, economic and environmental factors.

Different government agencies are developing individual green manuals for their jurisdictions, since each jurisdiction faces unique climate and construction constraints. These manuals are much like the LEED manual; the points system for constructing sustainable buildings. Buildings are a simpler than highways, while the foundation may change the general construction as the building goes up remains the same. It’s why each road jurisdiction necessitates its own individual manual.

What can we expect on the greener roads?

  • Reduced raw material: recycled pavements, long life pavements, life cycle assessments of the road structure, etc
  • Improved Human Health and Safety: intelligent transportation systems, pedestrian and cycle friendly road and highway intersections, etc
  • Water: reduced water use during construction, proper storm water management, etc
  • Optimized land   and habitat use: crossings for wildlife, minimize the width of roads and clear zones, protect streams and wetlands, etc

Greener roads will continue to evolve. Our traditional way of road construction cannot continue, not just due to the environmental hazards, but the cost to build and maintain our current infrastructure is not possible.




Comment from E. Keith Owens
Time May 13, 2011 at 2:51 am

of roads expands their lifetime and takes material headed for landfills…. finite oil-based energy resources……..If you can even extend the lifecycle of roads by 10 per cent you are.

Comment from Tamara Doan
Time November 2, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Hi Sasha –
We love the photo of the grassed roadway and would love to know if you took it/or where you got it! We’d like to use it in a presentation on incorporating LID standards, but the image on your site is too small for our purposes (we need more pixels!).

Tamara C. Doan
Water Quality Analyst
Coastal Nonpoint Source Program
California Coastal Commission
831-427-4852 desk