When thinking about road construction, sustainability isn’t something that tends to be a natural fit for the topic, as much of the time, the design and building of roads, bridges, and other transportation infrastructure projects focus on the end result – getting vehicles and people from one place to another as efficiently as possible – and not the overall impact of the project.
There is another way, however, and it relies on taking into consideration the ecological and environmental impacts of the project, including its effects on noise, pollution, temperature, groundwater, and the local ecosystem. When approached in that manner, it is possible to build roadways that are more sustainable and that just work better (in the big picture) than conventional roads.
The Greenroads certification system can be of help in guiding builders and planners toward a “greener” road system. Greenroads is a third-party program that uses a points-based system to rate road projects, using a collection of best practices of sustainable roadway design and construction.
“A Greenroad provides environmental, economic and social benefits. It efficiently uses resources and renewable materials, helps reduce emissions, manages waste, enables multimodal transport, and is designed to be accessible by all.” – Greenroads
Just recently, a road project on a major collector road in Houston became the first Greenroads certified project in Texas. The Bagby Street Reconstruction Project integrated a number of sustainable features in its design, including rain gardens, LED street lighting, “cool” pavement materials, native vegetation for shading of sidewalks, and the use of locally sourced construction materials.
“When we truly began to measure the way the street was performing it made us realize what an exceptional place has been created. From human comfort and heat island, to the kinetic aspect of the planting and night lighting, each piece of the design has elevated Midtown to a higher quality.” – Steven Spears, Design Workshop
Find out more about the Greenroads certification process at their website.