Rest areas have been elimination targets by State Department of Transportations (DOTs) over the past few years due to high maintenance and operation costs in a time of limited financial state resources. Rest areas are important to the safety of the traveling public and the interstate trucking industry. Many DOT rest areas are old and have unsustainable designs and operating procedures that are costly, promote the generation of greenhouse gases, and provide a poor public perception to the visiting public.
TerraLogic has teamed with Colorado State University-Pueblo (CSU-Pueblo) to evaluate rest area sustainable designs and operations for the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). Many CDOT rest areas are non-sustainable system in regards to costs, high quality services, environmental enhancement and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Very limited research information exists nationwide on sustainable rest area designs and operating practices, and their environmental/carbon footprint.
There are three types of rest area within the CDOT system: 1) visitor centers that are the largest and provide the most services to the traveling public, 2) recreational/natural resource rest areas that allow the public to access trails or highlight a natural feature, and 3) basic rest areas that provide motorists limited services such as rest rooms. TerraLogic in coordination with CDOT has selected 6 rest areas statewide; two of each rest area type will be evaluated for sustainable design and operation. The following are the overall goals of the project:
- Reduce life cycle cost for energy, materials and CDOT manpower
- Conceptualize sustainable and renewable actions and features to rest areas
- Improve the visitor experience in Colorado
- Reduce long term rest area operation and maintenance costs and avoid a large manpower-resource commitment by CDOT maintenance.
- Develop sustainable actions that will be adopted by all CDOT Regions
- Improve the environmental footprint by reducing emissions and conserving natural resources by reduced consumption, reuse and recycling.
The TerraLogic/CSU-Pueblo Team has developed a sustainable rest area design and operations checklist that will be used during field evaluations starting in July, 2010. It is expected that the field evaluations will be completed by late August, 2010. The field evaluation results will be inputted into a database to aid in data analysis and report development. A sustainable rest area sustainability scoring methodology has been developed that will aid in a numeric comparison of rest area sustainability. The final Sustainable Rest Area Evaluation Report will be submitted to CDOT in January 2011.
Copies of the field evaluation sheets and scoring criteria can be obtained by interested parties via TerraLogic.