ADB launches ‘toolkit’ for design of environment-friendly roads

THE Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Tuesday that it launched a toolkit that would aid governments and transport industries in building low-carbon and inclusive road infrastructure.

The ADB, along with the International Road Federation and MetaMeta Research, launched the Green Roads Toolkit, to guide the planning, design, construction and maintenance of roads while ensuring environmentally sustainable practices.

“We need to do road investments and other transport infrastructure better to develop them sustainably and ensure accessibility for all,” James Leather, director of the bank’s transport sector office, said during the Asia and the Pacific Transport Forum.

The framework seeks to address the region’s need for eight million kilometers of roads by 2030, as estimated in the Asian Transport Outlook.

It also aims to ensure beneficial land and water use, reduce pollution, push for restorative and regenerative ecosystems, and ensure the public safe and affordable mobility in the region.

“This toolkit will provide engineers, planners, decision makers, and practitioners with the guidance to balance the economic, social and environmental objectives to make roads in Asia and the Pacific greener,” Mr. Leather said.

The guide details 150 best practices in road design and planning, tackling decarbonization, sustainable materials and construction, fostering inclusive growth, climate resilience, reducing pollution, preserving biodiversity, water and land management, disaster preparedness, and improving quality of life.

“It will guide project teams in recommending interventions that support the alignment of road investments with the Paris Agreement on climate change and other sustainability agendas,” said Rebecca Stapleton, ADB’s senior analyst for the transport sector group and co-lead on the ADB Green Roads Initiative.

Around 400 million people in the Asia-Pacific region live more than two kilometers away from an all-season road, Mr. Leather said.

Roads account for 18% of the world’s energy-related carbon dioxide emissions.

The toolkit will be regularly updated to include additional best practices to develop and manage “green roads.”

Over 1.7 billion across Asia do not have access to reliable transport, Managing Director General Woochong Um told the forum.

“Our focus now is not only on moving cars and other forms of vehicles. It is also not only on moving goods and people. We focus now also on shaping sustainable futures for our developing member countries,” Mr. Um said.

The ADB is also supporting the transition to electric vehicles, Mr. Um said.

“Transitioning to electric vehicles represents a significant step forward, yet this alone is insufficient to tackle broader issues, such as accessibility, congestion, or safety. Our approach must be holistic, incorporating a range of innovative solutions to ensure that our transport systems are not only environmentally sustainable, but also universally accessible and safe,” he said. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz