A Broader Application for Permeable Pavement
Various types of permeable pavements-including pervious concrete, porous asphalt, and permeable interlocking concrete pavers-have long been recognized means for reducing runoff and pollutant load. They have become a staple in the low-impact development and green infrastructure toolbox. We're all familiar with the most common uses of permeable pavement and porous asphalt: in parking lots, alleyways, and residential streets. Until now, it's been widely assumed that such materials are limited to these low-speed and lightly trafficked areas.
What if permeable pavement worked under heavier loads as well? A discussion panel just added to the StormCon 2012 schedule will explore recent laboratory and simulation studies that show the technical feasibility of full-depth permeable highway shoulders for runoff management. Tests have been conducted at the University of California Pavement Research Center, and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program is also initiating an exploratory investigation to assess the potential use of permeable pavement on highway shoulders.
Of course, before the concept can be fully implemented, more testing is needed, such as tests using heavy vehicle simulator test tracks or pilot investigations on roads with heavy truck or bus traffic. In addition, maintenance and management protocols must be developed before widespread use of permeable pavements in urban street and highway settings. But the implications for stormwater management from roadways is tremendous.