Green Travel for Highways

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The 2nd International symposium in Freeway and Tollway Operations was held in Honolulu, Hawaii from June 21-24, 2009. More than 200 experts specializing in freeway and tollway operations gathered from around the world to share their research knowledge and experiences. These series of articles summarize some of the major presentations with useful lessons for Hawaii. This is article 7 of 10.

Numerous measures and suggestions for the creation of sustainable transportation corridors were presented at 2nd ISFO. Many of these methods are implemented on some transportation corridors and demonstrate good performance. They are necessary and applicable to Hawaii.


Green travel refers to methods and measures adopted by architects, engineers and planners to reduce the ecological footprint of transportation and preserve natural resources. Sometimes green travel is referred to as sustainable transportation to demonstrate efforts to reduce environmental as well as economic and social impacts. Creation of a sustainable transportation system embraces a wide range of measures applicable to vehicles and infrastructure.

Technology and policies include a set of affordable and applicable measures for Hawaii that could make transportation sustainable. Examples of policies include road pricing, peak hour shoulder lanes, eco-driving, green transportation terminals and management buildings, and adaption of sustainability measures and goals.

Technology includes signal coordination, intelligent transportation systems, new pavement materials and electric cars which may appear on Hawaii roads sooner than other states thanks to an agreement among California based Better Place, the State of Hawaii, and Renault/Nissan to provide quick battery swaps for full-featured, market priced electric vehicles with range over 100 miles.

Other measures include High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes, dynamic tolls, active traffic management, bus rapid system (BRT), vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to infrastructure communications that improve safety and provide guidance to lessen congestion.

Active Traffic Management is a set of tools for improving traffic flow and reducing congestion along major corridors. Active Traffic Management make use of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and human intervention to ensure optimum traffic conditions, provide high quality services and reduce transportation cost on freeway corridors.

This is done by implementing a number of strategies that mitigate traffic congestion, minimize delay, reduce energy and keep high levels of mobility. Active Traffic Management can be implemented within two years.

There is great need for mobility on Oahu by addressing the high traffic volumes on freeways and at the same time mitigating transportation impacts to the Hawaiian environment (e.g., wasted fuel), to the economy (e.g., wasted time that needs to be billed into products and services) and to the society (e.g., slow emergency service response.) The objective of mitigating traffic congestion quickly, along the most heavily travelled corridors on Oahu can be achieved by implementing some of the green travel measures mentioned above.

Dimitri Mandalozis from Attica Tollway presented a set of environmental measures that already have implemented along a long freeway in Greece (Attica Tollway in Athens, Greece is a little longer than H-1, H-2 and H-3 freeways combined) with great success and they can be implemented in Hawaii for green operations.

”Flood protection:” Maintenance of flood protection works to collect water runoff and improve the overall flood protection of surrounded areas.

”Energy conservation:” Operate road lights with high pressure sodium lamps which offer an optimum ratio of lighting efficiency and power consumption.

”Recycling:” Implement programs for recycling waste. Recyclables include paper, metals, plastic, batteries, tires, aluminum, electrical parts, vehicle liquids and engine lubricants.
Animal protection: Preservation of local fauna, maintenance of protective fencing to prevent animals from entering the freeway and special measures to prevent birds from crashing on the noise barriers.

”Traffic Management:” Integrated Traffic Management System to ensure free-flow conditions (cameras, detection sensors, Variable Messaging Signs), patrolling on a 24/7/365 basis to assist users and minimize disruption to traffic, and electronic toll collection facilities to minimize congestion of vehicles entering the tollway. Traffic management and tolling techniques reduce obstruction to traffic flow, hence result in reduced fuel consumption and emissions.

”Noise and air pollution:” Continuous implementation of significant noise protection measures in urban sections (e.g. noise barriers, buffer zones, and specially-planted slopes and embankments). Monitoring the levels of noise and air pollution by using automatic measurement stations and reporting to government every quarter, with measures and suggestions for improvements, if necessary.

‘Lambros Mitropoulos is candidate for the Doctorate degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He holds a Master’s degree in CE from the Imperial College, London.’