Austroads strategic plan has two work streams with an environmental focus:
- investigating the use of different types of materials in response to a scarcity of natural resources
- designing and planning to mitigate the impacts of climate change on infrastructure
This is a continuation of significant research undertaken in both areas.
A major challenge facing road agencies is the increasing shortage of quality quarried materials and natural gravels for road construction and maintenance. These are finite resources, and current sources are being exhausted. Austroads projects are examining the design of pavements using non-standard materials including marginal and recycled materials
Over the past 15 years Austroads has commissioned research to improve our understanding of the direct and indirect impacts of climate change on infrastructure. Impacts include:
- rainfall changes which can alter moisture balances and influence pavement deterioration and temperature can affect the aging of bitumen
- flood heights and frequencies which are important considerations for the location and design of roads and bridges
- sea level rise and increased occurrence of storm surges which will affect roads in coastal areas
- increasing salinity, which leads to high water tables that in turn can reduce the structural strength of pavements.
Our active travel work is linked, as walking and cycling produce minimal greenhouse gases, and do not contribute to noise and air pollution.