|Environmental Review Toolkit|
|NEPA and Project
|Section 4(f)||Water, Wetlands,
|Accelerating Project Delivery|
View PDF (size: 730kB)
To view PDF files, you need Adobe Reader™
FHWA Resources Promote Implementation of More Sustainable Pavements
An increasing number of agencies, companies, and organizations are embracing principles of sustainability in managing their activities and conducting business, and the field of highway pavement is no exception. Design, construction, and maintenance of highway pavements can cause a wide variety of environmental impacts related to water quality and supply, stormwater management, air quality, heat absorption, and climate change. Taking steps to make pavement more sustainable can reduce waste, preserve the natural environment, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce energy costs.
In 2010, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) launched the Sustainable Pavements Program to help advance the state of the practice in pavement sustainability. This program aims to increase the body of knowledge regarding sustainability of asphalt and concrete materials in pavement design, construction, and maintenance and to promote the use of sustainable technologies and practices related to pavements. A key goal of the program is to increase awareness, visibility, and implementation of sustainability considerations in all life cycle phases of pavement systems.
Resources Advance Conversation on Pavement Sustainability
A sustainable pavement is one that achieves its specific engineering goals whil meeting basic human needs; using resources efficiently; and preserving or restoring surrounding ecosystems. For FHWA, a sustainable approach to pavements means that decisionmakers make balanced and efficient choices among environmental, economic, and social values—the triple bottom line of sustainability—that will provide the best benefits to the natural and human environments now and into the future.
The Sustainable Pavements Program promotes pavement sustainability through a variety of resources, including:
The Technical Working Group. The Sustainable Pavement Technical Working Group (SPTWG) brings together stakeholders from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), State DOTs, local governments, the pavement industry, and academia. The SPTWG, which meets twice a year, provides technical input to FHWA program managers on sustainability practices related to pavement systems and materials. It also provides a forum for experts from different parts of the pavement community to share information on emerging best practices.
Technology Transfer. Technological advances in pavement sustainability do not instantly make it into the toolboxes of practitioners. The Sustainable Pavements Program uses technical briefs (TechBriefs) and webinars to educate engineers about current best practices in pavement sustainability. The Sustainable Pavements Program has published two TechBriefs, an introduction to pavement sustainability and a guide to life cycle assessments of pavement systems. Both TechBriefs are designed for pavement professionals who may not have a background in environmental analysis.
The Reference Center. The reference center is a clearinghouse for studies and publications related to pavement sustainability that are referenced in Towards Sustainable Pavement Systems: A Reference Document. The reference center includes links to more than 200 publications about pavement sustainability that cover topics like urban heat islands, pavement recycling, and life cycle assessment.
New Reference Document Provides Latest Tools for Pavement Professionals
As sustainable pavement grows more popular, professionals need up-to-date technical information and guidance on best practices. Recognizing that existing reference materials were outdated or limited in scope, the FHWA Sustainable Pavements Program prepared a comprehensive reference document that provides the latest knowledge and information for designing, constructing, and maintaining sustainable pavement structures. The reference document builds on the work of the SPTWG as well as information in the TechBriefs and the reference center.
Released in March 2015, Towards Sustainable Pavement Systems: A Reference Document covers the entire pavement life cycle—from initial materials processing to end-of-life considerations. It also contains key information on pavement sustainability concepts, pavement sustainability and livable communities, and methods for assessing pavement sustainability.
The reference document is designed to help practitioners navigate the subject of sustainability while developing mixture designs, pavement structure designs, and construction, preservation, and maintenance techniques. It also contains relevant information for other pavement stakeholders, including those in private industry, academia, and all levels of government.
The focus of the reference document is on proven techniques and technologies that engineers can implement today. FHWA plans to update the document as new technologies develop and new best practices emerge.
The Future of the Sustainable Pavements Program
Looking forward, the Sustainable Pavements Program is working on several initiatives to further advance sustainability in pavement systems, which are outlined below.
Sustainability for pavements is a journey and not a destination, and consequently the field of sustainable pavements is constantly advancing. FHWA and U.S. DOT are committed to improving the sustainability of highway pavement through guidance and resources that help transportation agencies better integrate sustainability considerations into pavement design, construction, and maintenance.
For additional information on sustainability considerations in pavement systems, including the Towards Sustainable Pavements: A Reference Document, visit the FHWA Sustainable Pavements Program web page.
Look What's New!
Successes in Stewardship is a Federal Highway Administration newsletter highlighting current environmental streamlining and stewardship practices from around the country. Click here to subscribe, or call (617) 494-3539 for more information.