Sustainable streets and highways: an analysis of green roads rating systems
Eisenman, Ana Athalia Plaut
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As sustainability increasingly becomes a concern to society, it is in state transportation agencies' best interests to embrace and adopt initiatives that will both educate their employees and the communities they serve on how transportation systems and system operations can be viewed within such a context. One of the strategies some state departments of transportation (SDOTs) have adopted for providing a more sustainable approach to highway design is a "green streets and highways rating system." Adopting a strategy such as the one proposed in this thesis for the Georgia Department of Transportation will enable an agency to compare projects based on sustainability goals and outcomes. Such a rating system can provide several benefits to a state department of transportation. As a public relations tool, publishing the sustainability rating results of completed projects can promote an "environmentally friendly" image of the agency. In some cases, this could be used to garner increased support for an agency's program. Comparing the ratings of proposed projects during the early programming process may also help in the selection of more sustainably effective and efficient projects. Additionally, a project in the project planning phase could use the green rating criteria to identify those areas where changes in design could result in more environmentally sensitive designs. A green streets and highways rating tool is an important means of fostering an environmental ethic in a transportation agency, one that could become more important in years to come.