Creating the World’s First Sustainable Highway

Creating the World’s First Sustainable Highway

January 18, 2017  | Ann Henebery

A 16-mile stretch of highway in southwest Georgia is beginning to earn a reputation as the one of the most sustainable roads in the world. The portion of Interstate 85 in Troup County currently plays host to a number of pilot projects not seen anywhere else in the nation (or in the world).

The Ray – a 16 mile stretch of road in southwest Georgia that is earning a reputation for safety and sustainability. (Source: theray.org)

Spearheaded by the Ray C. Anderson Foundation in 2014, The Ray is named after Ray Anderson. The founder of Interface, a modular carpet company, Ray became a globally-recognized leader in making the business case for sustainability late in his career when he saw the damage his company was causing to the environment. When the Georgia legislature dedicated the road in his honor in 2014, the Foundation saw a perfect opportunity to continue his legacy and reinvent the highway as something that could actually benefit the environment and simultaneously improve roadway safety.

According to their website the road “will be a proving ground for emerging innovations and how they can work together to create a regenerative highway ecosystem.” And despite the fact that it was only started two years ago, The Ray is already home to some of the most innovative highway technology in the world:

  • Solar-paved highway: The first in the United States. This pavement uses “photovoltaic techniques” to provide renewable electricity. The pavement was installed in late 2016.
  • Tire safety check station: This monitoring system sends drivers a text message after they drive over the station. The alert informs drivers of tread depth and tire inflation level. This, in turn, should help reduce emissions and keep roads safer. The tread depth monitor is the first in the world.
  • Solarpowered vehicle charging: This is the state’s first solar-powered electric vehicle charging station.

Other innovations that are in the works for The Ray include bioswales to clean highway water run off and solar sound barriers to reduce noise while also capturing energy. More information about the highway technology can be found here.

While transportation technology is one of the hottest topics around today, you would have to look far and wide for a project that encompasses transportation, technology, and the environment like The Ray does. And the project certainly has a long way to go – 16 miles is a very small portion of our nation’s 164,000 miles of highway. However, The Ray is already forcing experts to rethink what is possible with respect to highways and sustainability.

The organization’s Executive Director, Allie Kelly and President, Harriet Anderson Langford (daughter of Ray Anderson) will serve as the keynote speakers for Eno’s Capital Convergence on January 26 at the Washington Auto Show.

To learn more and register, visit the event page here.

Share

Related Articles

Increased Focus on Environmental Justice in Federal Transportation Policy Proposals

Increased Focus on Environmental Justice in Federal Transportation Policy Proposals

All federal agencies, including the USDOT, have had a mandate to incorporate environmental justice into their missions since 1994. The...

Road to Recovery Webinar: Rebalancing the Load: How Road User Charging Can Influence Traveler Behavior

Road to Recovery Webinar: Rebalancing the Load: How Road User Charging Can Influence Traveler Behavior

Congestion pricing can be a valuable tool for regions to address congestion and meet goals for sustainability and equity. Intelligent...

Op-Ed: Now is The Right Moment to Address Transportation-Related Air Quality Concerns

Op-Ed: Now is The Right Moment to Address Transportation-Related Air Quality Concerns

Vehicle miles traveled have plummeted across the country with many pre-COVID drivers now working from home (see FHWA’s April 2020 Traffic...

Webinar: Congestion Pricing in the United States

Webinar: Congestion Pricing in the United States

This webinar summarizes Eno's latest research report titled Congestion Pricing in the United States: Principles for Developing a Viable...

Op-Ed: Trump Emissions Rule Will Accelerate Climate Change

Op-Ed: Trump Emissions Rule Will Accelerate Climate Change

Despite the current public health and economic emergency, the Trump Administration issued its final rule on vehicle fuel efficiency and CO2...

Webinar: OK Vroomer: Millennials and Car Culture

Webinar: OK Vroomer: Millennials and Car Culture

In this webinar, we will discuss how for many people, owning and using a car symbolizes social status and personal image and how this...

White House Releases Overhaul of NEPA Implementing Regulations

White House Releases Overhaul of NEPA Implementing Regulations

On December 9, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released a proposed rule to overhaul the enforcement of National...

House Subcommittee Considers Environmental, Economic Effects and Industry Involvement in CAFE Standards

House Subcommittee Considers Environmental, Economic Effects and Industry Involvement in CAFE Standards

On October 29, the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Environment held a hearing, “Trump’s Wrong Turn on Clean Cars: The...

Reducing Transportation Emissions, Improving Air Quality Recurring Themes at Global Cities Climate Summit

Reducing Transportation Emissions, Improving Air Quality Recurring Themes at Global Cities Climate Summit

On October 10 and 11, nearly 2,000 global city leaders from the public, private, and civic sectors gathered in Copenhagen, Denmark, for the...

Webinar: From Yellow to Green: Reducing School Transportation’s Impact on the Environment

Webinar: From Yellow to Green: Reducing School Transportation’s Impact on the Environment

The primary goal of every school transportation system is getting students to school safely and on time each day. To do so, America’s...

Fuel Efficiency Standards - California vs. the Feds (How We Got Here, and What Comes Next)

Fuel Efficiency Standards - California vs. the Feds (How We Got Here, and What Comes Next)

California and four major automakers (BMW, VW, Ford, and Honda) signed a voluntary agreement that appears to preempt the Trump...

Beyond Speculation 2.0: Automated Vehicles and Public Policy

Beyond Speculation 2.0: Automated Vehicles and Public Policy

Technology continues to alter how people and goods move. One innovation that has the greatest potential to upend traditional travel is the...

Be Part of the Conversation
Sign up to receive news, events, publications, and course notifications.
No thanks