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The Greenroads Rating System

The short story.

Greenroads is a sustainability rating system for roadway design and construction. It is applicable to all types of transportation projects including new roads, reconstruction and rehabilitation (even overlays) of old roads, bridges, you name it: we can probably help.

Greenroads is a collection of sustainability best practices, called "credits," that relate to roadway design and construction. Achieving these credits can earn points toward a total score for the project, and in general, this Greenroads™ score can be used as an indicator of sustainability for the roadway. Four different certification levels (rating) are available depending upon total score on a voluntary basis.

A few key things that Greenroads provides:

  1. A holistic way of considering roadway sustainability
  2. A defined and quantitative means to assess roadway sustainability
  3. A tool for decision-makers, agencies, consultants and contractors that enables informed design and construction decisions regarding sustainability.

How Greenroads Works

The Greenroads rating system is a collection of sustainable roadway design and construction best practices. You can take a look at the scorecard here.

Each sustainable practice is assigned a point value according to its impact on roadway sustainability. There are 12 "Project Requirements" that must be done in order for a roadway to be considered a Greenroad. These activities carry no point value and are required for all projects pursuing official recognition for a Greenroads Rating.

There are also 45 "Voluntary Credits" that a project team can choose to pursue or not. The points associated with the Voluntary Credits that are achieved are added together to give a final Greenroads score. That score can then be used directly for sustainability tracking, internal information, publicity, etc.

Greenroads projects may choose to pursue several levels of "certification" based on the points associated with the Voluntary Credit achieved. The more points, the higher the certification level. Currently, there are four certification levels: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Evergreen.

Why Use Greenroads?

So why would you or anyone want to use Greenroads? We think there are a number of ways Greenroads can be useful. Here is a brief list:

  • Defines basic roadway sustainability attributes. Essentially, it is a convenient list of what sustainability attributes a roadway can have. This can be useful to an owner or consultant seeking to design/construct a more sustainable roadway. Greenroads can serve as a list of ideas about what could be done. Not all credits are applicable to every roadway but no matter what you are designing/constructing you will find some good ideas here.
  • Greater participation in roadway sustainability. The idea of this system is to present roadway sustainability in a straightforward manner so that everyone can understand and participate in roadway sustainability.
  • Better evaluation of sustainability tradeoffs. Every roadway project involves tradeoffs. The difficult decision is when you must decide between two items that are not directly comparable. Greenroads assigns points to each credit based on its sustainability impact. Therefore, you can compare two different items using a common point system to determine their relative impact.
  • Provide a means for sustainability assessment. If your organization has a goal of more sustainable roads then rating your projects with Greenroads can help you track how you are doing with respect to sustainability. If you can measure something then it becomes easier to assess, manage and improve.
  • Confer market recognition for sustainability efforts. If a roadway is designed/constructed with sustainability in mind then it should be publicized. This helps increase awareness of sustainability efforts and gives recognition to those who participated in the effort.

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