Green is a sign of growing
One of the biggest challenges facing the highway construction industry–and our nation—is how we promote growth and economic development while at the same time being responsible from an environmental standpoint.
While our industry views efforts by anti-road groups to stop or delay highway projects because of environmental issues as wrong-headed and counter-productive, we do need to be aware that polls show the public wants a cleaner environment.
That’s why The Road Information Program (TRIP) is taking a proactive approach with the release of its "green driving" tips, which offer information about environmentally friendly driving. The release calls attention to the fact that air quality—and the environment in general—is improving. And the primary reason it is improving is because of improved automotive technology and cleaner burning fuels.
In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reported that emissions from automobiles have declined significantly since 1980. EPA data shows that from 1980 to 1998 overall highway vehicle emissions of volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide were reduced by 41%, 10% and 35%, respectively.
The amazing thing is these air quality improvements have taken place at the same time highway travel increased by 72%.
Cleaner burning fuels, improved vehicle emissions equipment and technological innovations such as the catalytic converter have played major roles in reducing vehicle emissions—resulting in improved air quality.
Moreover, the EPA projects that vehicle emissions of volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide will continue to decrease between 1998 and 2010 by 31%, 31% and 20%, respectively. Again, the projected impact from technological improvements is the major reason for these anticipated improvements.
It is important for our industry to make motorists aware that they can do certain things to help reduce emissions, save money and be environmentally responsible.
TRIP’s "green driving" tips provide us with an excellent opportunity to call attention to the fact that air quality is improving in most parts of the country and to underscore that technological changes are the best way to meet future goals.
TRIP’s "green driving" tips are available by clicking on its website (www.tripnet.org).