What Is a Green Highway and How Does It Impact Sustainable Travel?


Every year, the transportation sector releases immense amounts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, contributing to the pressing issue of climate change. Eco-friendly solutions are paramount to achieving a more sustainable environment and greener cities. 

This is where the term green highway comes in. Learn what it is, how it works, and its impact on sustainable travel, now and in the future. 

Understanding the Term Green Highway

A green highway or road refers to a roadway design that looks at sustainable practices that decrease its negative impact on the environment. This concept can help reduce emissions related to transportation and building these roads.

The concept of green roads looks at sustainable practices used throughout the planning, designing, and construction process. It includes companies utilizing green building materials when creating these highways. It focuses on many green methods people are already familiar with, such as:

  • Recycling and reducing waste: Using recycled materials throughout the building process decreases the amount of energy used. In addition, recycling and reusing leftover materials reduce waste.
  • Employing better water usage practices: Green highways incorporate best practices to minimize the amount of water used. This decreases the likelihood of water runoff transferring dangerous chemicals to valuable resources.
  • Reducing GHG emissions: As with most sustainable practices, the primary intention is to lower and minimize the amount of GHG emissions released into the environment. This involves using greener construction methods or implementing other processes to limit the release of carbon emissions.
  • Encouraging the help of the surrounding communities: Public support is needed to make the concept of green roads effective, which begins with education. 

Other concepts associated with green roads include the following:

  • Implementing measures to protect water areas located near highways and roads.
  • Planting several plant species near roads and following polyculture best practices. Polyculture involves planting various species simultaneously in an area to resemble the diversity of natural ecosystems. 
  • Developing initiatives to build smaller forests near roads or highways. Trees make for a beautiful route and aid in lessening the strength of wind. In addition, root systems help keep the ground intact and decrease the possibility of soil erosion. 
  • Creating processes to aid with watershed-driven stormwater management.

Sustainable Practices Green Roads Can Utilize

Construction companies should implement various methods when developing green highways to ensure the process and finished products are environmentally friendly.

  • Multimode infrastructure: Green roads serve additional and sustainable alternative methods of travel. For example, implementing sidewalks for pedestrians or adding designated bicycle lanes encourages other eco-friendly transportation methods.
  • Warm-mix asphalt: Construction companies use warm-mix asphalt (WMA) instead of hot-mix asphalt (HMA) when building green roads. This is significant because WMA utilizes less fossil fuels in its manufacturing process and is less costly than HMA. This switch cut down on emissions and toxic fumes.
  • Traffic controlling measures: Various measures better control traffic flow. This decreases the amount of traffic jams, which contributes to the release of emissions while cars idle.
  • Permeable materials: Green highways are constructed with permeable materials such as porous asphalt pavement. These building items allow water to flow into them instead of contributing to runoff and polluting nearby resources. 
  • Environmentally friendly powder coating: This is primarily utilized for coating different highway components and is a green alternative to liquid paint. The overspray is recyclable, making it possible to use 92% of the coating during a project.

What Effect Does a Green Highway Have on Sustainable Travel?

Sustainable travel refers to implementing green solutions in any form of transportation to reduce its negative impact on the environment. One way green roads do this is via multimodal transportation infrastructure, which encourages the use of additional transit methods. For example, it creates specific paths for cyclists or sidewalks for pedestrians. 

It is well known that carpooling or using public transport dramatically reduces a person’s carbon footprint and is considered a sustainable option. With green roads becoming more popular, construction companies can build designated bus lanes to decrease traffic and lower GHG emissions. 

Green highways can also lead to better traffic movement. This decreases the congestion where cars come to a standstill and emit emissions while idling. People can reach their destination quicker due to swifter traffic, reducing the total emissions released. 

Green Highways Helping Create a More Sustainable Environment

Green highways combine innovative building practices and incorporate ecological sustainability. They prioritize using sustainable materials and processes throughout their production and life cycle. 

This method utilizes better construction practices, as well as waste and water management techniques. It improves the sustainability of surrounding areas while reducing its environmental impact. Developing these roads ensures a better tomorrow. 

With the rise of GHG emissions, a holistic approach to travel and roadway production is necessary to ensure the planet’s sustainability. Even though green highways are still a relatively new concept, they are well worth exploring because they pave the way for sustainable travel.

Author Bio

Jack Shaw is the senior lifestyle writer at Modded with a special interest in covering concerns of health, family, and relationships. You’ll often find him exploring nature or playing with his dogs in his free time.

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