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Sustainable roads initiative

Sustainable roads initiative

“World-class transportation networks are critical in terms of encouraging improved efficiency in the movement of people, resources and commodities. What’s more, sustainability has become a ‘buzz’ word within the engineering industry in recent years and is increasingly becoming a key priority for our clients as they strive to meet the need to develop sustainable practices in all areas of the built environment,” says Ashley Stevenson, Aurecon Engineer.

Roads make up a large proportion of the built environment and are essential to our everyday life.


Although private vehicle travel is not necessarily considered the most ‘sustainable’ form of transport, it is essential in most communities, and there is an increasing need to develop sustainable design and construction practices for roads.

“Balancing the pillars of sustainability, namely environmental, economic, social and cultural influences, in road design and construction is not a straightforward task, and as such it is very difficult to quantify what is truly ‘sustainable’,” explains Stevenson.

“Transportation authorities around the world are beginning to see the need to create more sustainable transport infrastructure and have begun developing manuals and sustainability rating systems that attempt to quantify sustainable design, practices and elements of transport infrastructure,” explains Stevenson.

She goes on to say that while most of the manuals and rating systems developed so far have been written for very specific geographical locations, climates and local authorities’ policies and sustainability goals. Some of these manuals have begun work to formulate guidelines specific to the developing world environment.

“In order to keep up with the developing need of our clients to produce sustainable outcomes, Aurecon is beginning to include sustainability initiatives in our own design processes. In this regard, we have done extensive work in terms of analysing various existing manuals and rating systems available in the market or under development, to gain an understanding of the quantification of sustainability and what our clients are looking for when seeking sustainable design and construction,” says Stevenson.

“Although no one manual can be used as a basis for the inclusion of sustainability in Aurecon’s road projects, as topics important to certain clients may be missed, our comparison of these manuals has allowed us to gain a comprehensive knowledge of sustainability criteria that cover a wide variety of topics which range from feasibility through to construction and maintenance. This knowledge can be applied anywhere in the world, regardless of location.”

She adds that “The introduction of these criteria to more projects will be a key step in the right direction to reduce the road construction industry’s contribution to environmental damage.”

The essential benefits of introducing sustainability measures to road design and construction include:

  • Reduced emissions and other air pollutants
  • Reduced water usage
  • Reduced energy consumption
  • Reduced use of virgin material in construction and increased use of recycled materials
  • Reduced construction and operational impact on the environment
  • Creating low impact development
  • Creating safer and more integrated roadways
  • Promotion of sustainable transport
  • Enhanced community awareness of sustainability
  • Enhanced community involvement
  • Promotion of innovative solutions

The inclusion of sustainability in a project from the earliest stage of its lifecycle as possible produces the largest benefits. It is important to show our clients that we consider sustainability a priority in our work by not only responding to their sustainability requests early and continuously in a project but also providing them with value added services in this regard where not specifically requested. A focus on our ability to deliver sustainable infrastructure in our road project proposals can set us aside from our competitors and help deliver world class outcomes for our clients.

To find out more about how you can integrate sustainable thinking into your road and transport projects please speak to one of Aurecon’s sustainability professionals.

Over the last few years a number of Aurecon staff have gained accreditation through various sustainable infrastructure organisations. Ashley Stevenson is accredited as a Sustainable Transport Professional under the Greenroads Organisation. Accredited Aurecon staff are listed below:

Sustainable roads initiative

Aurecon currently has two Greenroads projects underway - the E12 Green Road in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and the South Port Roads Combined Project in Durban, South Africa.

10 ways to a more sustainable road from Aurecon

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