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Creating Green Roadways

Integrating Cultural, Natural, and Visual Resources into Transportation

 Creating Green Roadways
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James L. Sipes and Matthew L. Sipes

296 pages | 8.5 x 10
Roads and parking lots in the United States cover more ground than the entire state of Georgia. And while proponents of sustainable transit often focus on getting people off the roads, they will remain at the heart of our transportation systems for the foreseeable future. In Creating Green Roadways, James and Matthew Sipes demonstrate that roads don’t have to be the enemy of sustainability: they can be designed to minimally impact the environment while improving quality of life.


The authors examine traditional, utilitarian methods of transportation planning that have resulted in a host of negative impacts: from urban sprawl and congestion to loss of community identity and excess air and water pollution. They offer a better approach—one that blends form and function. Creating Green Roadways covers topics including transportation policy, the basics of green road design, including an examination of complete streets, public involvement, road ecology, and the economics of sustainable roads. Case studies from metropolitan, suburban, and rural transportation projects around the country, along with numerous photographs, illustrate what makes a project successful.


The need for this information has never been greater, as more than thirty percent of America’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition, more than a quarter of the nation’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and congestion in communities of all sizes has never been worse. Creating Green Roadways offers a practical strategy for rethinking how we design, plan, and maintain our transportation infrastructure.

"This welcome introduction to the topic of 'greening' roadways promotes humanizing and beautifying roads and streets while reducing their environmental impacts using collaborative, interdisciplinary methods. The text is elaborated with an extensive photo collection and case studies that demonstrate how to apply the principles proposed in the book."
Cynthia Girling, Professor of Landscape Architecture, University of British Columbia

"The Sipes' insightful synopsis of current green roadways concepts, combined with an assemblage of inspiring photographs, compels us to work smarter. They remind us that transportation successes can occur in far-flung, sometimes improbable settings, and even in our own backyards."
Laura Lewis, US Forest Service, Tennessee

"Creating Green Roadways provides a comprehensive overview of how roads can be designed to protect natural and cultural resources and exist harmoniously within their context. This is a must read for any planner: a clear map for improving our transportation infrastructure."
Mark S. Lindhult, FASLA, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Partner, The Berkshire Design Group

"A valuable resource for transportation planners, engineers, landscape architects, and other professionals associated with the construction of innovative roadway construction, highway connectivity and infrastructure projects. Designers and engineers for both rural communities and metropolitan regions, greenways and other transportation corridors will benefit from the design techniques and case studies described in this powerful manifesto for new highway thinking."
Richard Shaw, principal, DesignWorkshop

"In all Creating Green Roadways is an important collection of resources for creating more responsible infrastructure in both rural and urban settings. The numerous case studies outlined within, detail how the concepts discussed can and are being implemented with great success. The task of creating a more sustainable transportation future is still daunting and will require vast retrofits to existing infrastructure. Creating Green Roadways is a good resource for anyone involved or interested in the transportation industry looking to work towards more responsible infrastructure."

"Analyzing many American roads throughout the country with black and white photography throughout, authors James & Matthew Sipes offer their insightful combination analysis of which methods have worked and which have performed up to expectation, and what can be done for a better and more environmentally sound infrastructure in the future. Creating Green Roadways is a strong addition to environmental studies and transportation planning libraries, highly recommended."
Midwest Book Review

"With common language, thorough research and numerous case studies, the Sipes provide the reader with sound arguments for making our roadways green… The authors are dedicated to turning our transportation systems to assets, not liabilities, and have written a book to help guide this transformation."
ASLA's The Dirt blog

"James Sipes and Matthew Sipes have done an amazing job of showing how to develop green streets and roads to minimize environmental impacts…an invaluable reference for anyone involved in planning and design."


Chapter 1. Introduction
-Why We Need Green Roadways
-The Expansion of Our Highway Infrastructure
-The Problem
-Green Roadways and Quality of Life
-Overview of the Book

Chapter 2. Transportation Policies
-Federal Policies and Procedures
-Federal Acts and Regulations
-State and Local Policies and Procedures

Chapter 3. Basic Roadway Design
-Road Types
-Access Control
-Types of Transportation Projects
-Sources of Basic Transportation Standards
-Impact of Design Speeds and Level of Service on Roadway Design
-Importance of Safety
-Design Exceptions
-Greening Roadway Components
-Pedestrian Facilities

Chapter 4. Design and Planning Process for Green Roadways
-Overview of the Process of Planning and Designing a Green Road
-Environmental Considerations in Planning
-Transportation Planning
-Rethinking Roads: Context-Sensitive Design/Context-Sensitive Solutions
-Planning to Reduce Risks Associated with Green Roadways
-Land Use Planning, Smart Growth, Complete Streets, and Transportation Infrastructure
-Road Diets
-Transit-Oriented Development and Highway Interchange Transit-Oriented Development
-Highway Corridor Overlay District
-Value Engineering
-Transportation Challenges
-Problems with Current Mass Transit
-Rising Interest

Chapter 5. Public Involvement Process
-Public Involvement Begins at the Beginning
-Public Involvement Plan
-Social Media and Public Involvement
-Partnership Opportunities for Green Roadways
-Case Study: Public Participation
1. Vancouver Land Bridge, Vancouver, Washington

Chapter 6. Green Roadways in Urban Areas
-Deemphasizing Roads
-Retrofitting Existing Streets
-New Transportation Projects
-Urban Case Studies
1. Mexicantown Bagley Avenue Pedestrian Bridge and Plaza, Detroit, Michigan
2. Boston’s Big Dig
5. Portland’s Green Streets Program
4. Multifunction Roundabout, Normal, Illinois
5. Delaware Avenue Expansion, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
6. T-REX Light-Rail Pedestrian Bridge, Denver, Colorado

Chapter 7. Green Roadways in Rural and Suburban Areas
-Rural Transportation
-Types of Rural Development
-The Suburbs
-Livable, Walkable Communities
-Suburban and Rural Case Studies
1. The Rain Gardens of Maplewood, Minnesota
2. State Route 17 in Horseheads, New York
3. High Point Redevelopment, Seattle, Washington

Chapter 8. Cultural/Historic/Visual Resources
-Cultural and Historic Resources
-Visual Resources
-Approaches for Addressing Visual Resources
-Design Approaches
-Road Layout
-Scenic Byways
-Case Studies: Cultural/Historic/Visual Resources in Transportation
1. I-70 Glenwood Canyon and Snowmass Canyon, Colorado
2. Paris Pike, Kentucky
3. Old Florida Heritage Highway, Florida
4. Merritt Parkway, Connecticut
5. Nevada Landscape and Aesthetics Master Plan
6. Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia and North Carolina
7. Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge, Tennessee
8. Creative Corridors, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Chapter 9. Natural Resources/Environmental Sustainability
-Wildlife Habitat
-Road Ecology
-Wildlife Crossings
-Habitat Alterations
-Planning for Climate Change
-Open Space Opportunities
-Protecting Open Space
-Water Resources
-Air Quality
-Energy Conservation
-Generating Energy
-Case Studies: Integrating Natural Resources and Green Roads
1. Corridor K, Cherokee National Forest, Tennessee
2. US Highway 93, Montana
3. Alligator Alley, Florida
4. Mountains to Sound Greenway, Washington
5. Yellowstone National Park’s East Entrance Road
6. ARC International Design Competition for Wildlife Crossing Infrastructure, Vail Pass, Colorado

Chapter 10. Constructing Green Roadways
-Green Construction Practices
-Green Construction Materials
-Case Studies: Green Construction
1. New River Gorge Bridge, West Virginia
2. Meador Kansas Ellis Trail, Washington State
3. US 97 Lava Butte-South Century Drive, Oregon

Chapter 11. Economics of Green Roadways
-Funding Road Infrastructure
-Funding Green Roadways
-Increasing Efficiency
-Maintenance and Life-Cycle Costs
-Case Studies: Economics of Green Roadways
1. Atlanta BeltLine, Georgia
2. Greater East End Livable Centers, Houston, Texas

Chapter 12. Next Steps in Creating Green Roadways
-Planning for Green Roadways
-Changing the Emphasis of Transportation Funding
-Measuring Success for Green Roadways
-Sustainable Highways
-Measuring Success for Green Roadways
-U.S. Case Studies—Next Steps
1. Manchaca Greenway, Austin, Texas
2. Oregon Solar Highway
3. Houston Low Impact Development–Independence Parkway, Texas
-International Case Studies
1. Henderson Waves Bridge, Singapore
2. Clem Jones Tunnel, Brisbane, Australia
3. Zaragoza Bridge Pavilion, Zaragoza, Spain
4. Atlantic Road Bridge, Norway
5. City of Saskatoon (Canada) Green Streets Program

Appendix 1. Resource Characteristics
Selected Resources


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