Identifying Opportunities and Implementation Barriers to Heat Mitigation Through Application of Novel Materials and Improved Pedestrian Infrastructure Design

Extreme heat is the leading cause of weather-related mortality in the United States and is projected to increase in frequency and extent under climate change. Transportation infrastructure is a significant driver of urban heat islands (UHI) and extreme heat micro-environments, including in smaller cities and towns as demonstrated by the research team's current work. Efforts to mitigate UHI often focus on reflecting solar radiation (e.g. increasing surface albedo) and shading (e.g. planting street trees); however, alterative and novel paving materials (ANM) that reduce heat storage or green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) that promotes evaporative cooling offer additional heat mitigation pathways. Sidewalks, which facilitate non-motorized transportation, are relatively low risk, low cost and have low structural requirements compared to other transportation infrastructure and therefore offer a logical test bed for new materials and designs. With thermal comfort, safety and efficiency for users in mind, environmentally responsible designs also minimize material embedded energy and maintain natural ecosystems and processes. ANMs hold significant promise in these arenas however have not yet achieved widespread implementation. This project reviews the growing literature related to the application of ANMs and GSI to reduce UHI. Interviews with public works engineers to assess existing knowledge and potential barriers to implementing alternatives in sidewalk applications are collected, and key findings including familiarity with alternatives, design standard limitations, regulations and funding are synthesized for policy makers, planners and practitioners. This project also identifies key questions that will drive future research.

Language

  • English

Project

  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $74,000
  • Contract Numbers:

    DOT 69A3551747114

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    National Center for Sustainable Transportation

    University of California, Davis
    Davis, CA  United States 
  • Managing Organizations:

    National Center for Sustainable Transportation

    University of California, Davis
    Davis, CA  United States 

    University of Vermont

    Transportation Research Center
    Burlington, Vermont  United States  05405
  • Project Managers:

    Iacobucci, Lauren

  • Performing Organizations:

    National Center for Sustainable Transportation

    University of California, Davis
    Davis, CA  United States 

    University of Vermont

    Transportation Research Center
    Burlington, Vermont  United States  05405
  • Principal Investigators:

    Doran, Elizabeth

    Rowangould, Gregory

  • Start Date: 20220901
  • Expected Completion Date: 20230831
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01854525
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Center for Sustainable Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: DOT 69A3551747114
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Aug 11 2022 2:36PM