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New Approaches to Sustainable Roads

New Approaches to Sustainable Roads Roads generate carbon emissions from a variety of sources, including tree felling, construction work, lighting and signage, and increased journeys undertaken owing to the construction of new roads.
The mere presence of roads contributes to climate change by encouraging the construction of new houses, buildings, and other constructions which are in themselves often only accessible by car. Reducing the carbon footprint of roads is a lofty goal that can only be achieved through a multifaceted approach.
The Use of Reclaimed and Recycled Materials
Many states are standard bearers in terms of the use of reclaimed and recycled materials in highway construction. Illinois, for instance, is leading the way, using four major types of recycled materials: hot-mix asphalt (including reclaimed asphalt shingles and crumb rubber), aggregates (including reclaimed asphalt pavement), concrete (including slag from blast furnaces), and other materials (including old glass beads and steel).
In 2020 alone, some 1,439,041 tons of reclaimed and recycled material were used in Illinois highways. These materials are tough, sturdy, and long-lasting and they provide the grip and resistance needed to reduce accident rates. Of course, through SR-22 Insurance Illinois is able to keep accident rates down by keeping a closer eye on drivers who have had multiple traffic offenses, expired license plates, DUY convictions, and the like. After all, road materials are one thing but driver behavior still needs to be targeted to keep roads safe and to encourage safe, sustainable driving (i.e. driving below the speed limit, sharing rides, opting for electric vehicles, and more). New Approaches to Sustainable Roads
Intelligent Roads

Georgia is proving the extent to which roads can be made safer and more sustainable through a “higher intelligence.” The Ray, an 18-mile section of Interstate 85, is being used to test road technologies—especially a new data ecosystem (think of it as a “brain” in the road) that connects to autonomous cars and enables them to talk to each other. This system can help reduce collisions and traffic congestion by keeping drivers informed.
Road-to-vehicle communication can also work to provide energy where it is needed. When used with electric vehicles, it can return power to the grid when energy levels are low. This can be achieved through the provision of bi-directional power to and from cars.
Innovative Materials
Maltene and PolyPavement are two novel materials with great potential to lower the carbon footprint of road construction and maintenance. Maltene is now being used to make road rejuvenators that enable road maintenance professionals to fix cracks without having to lift the whole upper surface of the road. PolyPavement is a material that can be poured over direct roads to immediately convert it into an asphalt-like road. Moreover, unlike asphalt, it gets harder when sunlight hits it and when it develops cracks or fissures, more material can simply be poured over the surface to smoothen it once again.
Roads have an important role to play in stopping global warming. Developments such as the use of recycled and reclaimed materials and innovative materials like maltene reduce carbon footprints during construction. Meanwhile, smart road systems help transfer energy when it is needed and keep drivers informed about road conditions and other vehicles.Image 2: By Chris Miller - Self-photographed

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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 10th February 2022.

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