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Posted 09.22.11 | PERMALINK | ESSAY

Laura Tepper: Road Ecology: Wildlife Habitat and Highway Design



Innovations like noise-reducing, porous asphalt, smog-absorbing coating for sound barriers, and roll-out paving emerge regularly from the Rijkwaterstaat’s “Roads to the Future” program, which supports research into new materials and techniques for transportation infrastructure. The Dutch highway system will inevitably be retrofitted, not expanded — there is simply no room for more roads. However, the same techniques can be applied toward ecologically responsive road design in countries that are building new roads, where, as Ament notes, engineers “have the opportunity to do smart design from the outset.” Collaboration between scientists, landscape architects and engineers may be the key to protecting land threatened by the 3100 miles of new roads built annually in China, such as the Guizhou highway shown here. [Photo by Sweart via Flickr]

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