Excessive Heat is a Major Urban Challenge: The need to protect people from extreme heat is one of the key resilience and sustainability challenges of the 21st Century. Rising temperatures have negative implications on nearly every aspect of daily life and action must be taken to address this reality.
Roadways Need to be Part of Urban Cooling Strategies: Successfully implementing measures that cool communities will save lives, improve air quality, enhance labor and educational productivity, and save energy. A variety of passive cooling solutions are available today but, currently, there is not a scalable solution to address the heat from the single largest portion of our urban space – pavements. Pavement makes up about one third of the surface area of an average city — roadways, parking lots, sidewalks — and the vast majority of those are absorbing a lot of solar energy and heating our communities. The need, and the opportunity, are greatest in low-income and marginalized communities that tend to have more pavement and fewer trees than wealthier areas. Community leaders are actively looking for ways to modify pavements such that they can help achieve their sustainability and resilience goals — including large scale cool roadway installations in Phoenix and Los Angeles.
Cool Roadways Partnership Forms to Spur Innovation and Implementation: Faced with long-term projections of rising urban temperatures, growing urban heat islands, and an increased frequency of dangerous heat waves, municipal leaders are collaborating to advance the use of solar reflective, “cool” roadway solutions that can be smoothly integrated into their pavement operations and provide a sustainable, cost-effective way to reduce air temperatures. CRP participants created a request for information that expressed the need for viable cool roadway solutions, highlights the billions of dollars of market potential, and engages industry to work together to innovate. This model has worked well in pilots so far and is ready to be scaled globally.