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Alternative Uses of Highway Right-of-Way

Appendix F. Annotated Literature Review of Relevant Resources


Right-of-Way, General

Anspach, James. 2010. Utility Location and Highway Design. NHCRP Synthesis 405.
This study explores current practices in use by transportation agencies for consideration of utilities during the project development process, including where in the process the utility impacts are assessed and relocation decisions are made; what policies, regulations, manuals, and guidelines are used; and how design decisions are influenced by utilities.
Keywords: utilities; right of way
National Governors Association Center for Best Practices. Strengthening Our Infrastructure for a Sustainable Future. 2009.;jsessionid=2647174082211BDE89FD0102508026EE
The scope of this report is to examine the role of the states in addressing infrastructure challenges, including challenges faced when considering the siting of electric transmission lines.
Keywords: utilities, electric transmission, right of way, infrastructure
U.S. Department of Transportation. Federal Highway Administration. April 1996. Shared Resources: Sharing Right-of-Way for Telecommunications Guidance on Legal and Institutional Issues.
This study explores the nontechnical issues related to shared resource projects, i.e. sharing the public resource of highway right-of-way in exchange for private telecommunications expertise and capacity to further both public sector and private corporate objectives. The study outlines issues in four major categories: threshold legal and political issues, financial issues, project structure issues, and contract issues. The study findings note that while a number of issues must be addressed; there are options for each so that individual projects can be structured to suit particular circumstances. Shared resource partnering, however, is market driven and the window of opportunity for individual projects is limited, with the specific time frame depending on local circumstances.
Keywords: right of way; shared resource partnering
U.S. Department of Transportation. Federal Highway Administration. March 27, 2009. Guidance on Utilization of Highway Right-of-Way.
The purpose of this memorandum is to provide guidance to Division Utility and Realty Professionals concerning the applicability of Federal laws and regulations to proposals for longitudinal accommodation, installation, operation and maintenance of public or private utilities, in particular renewable energy facilities, within the Interstate System ROW. The guidance identifies the existing laws, regulations, policies and guidance applicable to the longitudinal installation and accommodation of public and private utility facilities and clarifies their application on a case-by-case basis. Key points of the guidance include:
  • The proper form of written agreement for a non-highway use other than a public utility is an airspace lease, which should address applicable terms and conditions including but not limited to the rights and interests being conveyed, the terms of the conveyance, and the roles and responsibilities of the parties. 23 CFR 645 Subpart B and the DOTs' approved Utility Accommodation Manual or Plan regulate the use of Interstate air rights for facilities defined as public utilities. Accommodation of a facility as a public utility is determined by how a State views the facility under its own laws and regulations, as well as by that facility meeting the definition established in 23 CFR 645.207.
  • The proper form of written agreement or permit for a public utility is established in the Utility Accommodation Manual or Plan and addresses the applicable terms and conditions including but not limited to the rights and interests being permitted, the terms of the agreement, and the roles and responsibilities of the parties. (See 23 CFR 1.23(c)). All actions in highway ROW that can be classified as a Federal action or have a Federal handle must comply with 23 CFR Part 771 (NEPA) and 23 CFR Part 774 (Section 4(f)).
Keywords: right of way; guidance

Renewable Energy, General

American Physical Society. November 2010. Integrating Renewal Energy on the Grid.
This report focuses on wind and solar energy and the three principal issues associated with integrating wind and solar resources with the grid: variability of generation addressed by forecasting, energy storage and transmission; remote location of wind and solar resources addressed by transmission; and how the incomplete business case undervalues key resources such as storage and transmission.
Keywords: renewable energy; grid
Elkind, Ethan. December 2009. In Our Backyard: How to Increase Renewable Energy Production on Big Buildings and Other Local Spaces. UCLA Environmental Law Center.
This policy paper is the second in a series of reports on how climate change will create opportunities for specific sectors of the business community in California and how policy makers can facilitate those opportunities. According to the researchers, the top four barriers to decentralized renewable energy production on big buildings and other local spaces are (1) lack of predictable and adequate financing; (2) uncertain government permitting and regulatory programs; (3) lack of education and outreach (i.e., public agencies often do not view capitalizing on their physical assets as part of their organizational mission); (4) landlord/tenant split incentives. One recommendation to California's state government was to "Instruct state agencies to utilize, when possible, public spaces and buildings, including schools, structures along rights-of-way, highways, aqueducts, and other large facilities, for renewable energy generation."
Keywords: renewable energy; highways; right of way
Energy Information Administration (EIA). April 2009. Renewable Energy Annual 2007.
This annual publication on renewable energy presents data on five areas:
  1. Renewable Energy Trends in Consumption and Electricity – including biomass; geothermal; wind; solar; and conventional hydropower.
  2. Solar Thermal Collector Manufacturing Activities
  3. Solar Photovoltaic Cell/Module Manufacturing Activities
  4. Geothermal Heat Pump Manufacturing Activities
  5. Green Pricing and Net Metering Programs
Keywords: renewable energy; statistics; energy consumption
EIA. August 2010. Electricity Net Generation From Renewable Energy by Energy Use Sector and Energy Source.
Fairley, Peter. June 2009. Building an Interstate Highway System for Energy. Discover Magazine.
This article describes Oregon DOT's experience in establishing the nation's first "solar highway." According to the author, the system, which is located in the interchange of Interstate 205 and Interstate 5, is producing 30 percent of the energy needed to light the interchange at night.
Keywords: solar energy; solar highway; transportation; Oregon DOT; right of way
National Governors Association Center for Best Practices. January 2011.
This report examines state-driven approaches to financing clean energy projects. It looks at the sources of capital available to states, describes the leading mechanisms currently being used, and identifies important implementation issues. Most of the mechanisms described relate to energy efficiency and small-scale, renewable energy applications. These are the technologies most in need of, and most amenable to, state financing interventions. Other, larger-scale clean energy projects, such as grid-connected renewable energy and biofuels, are already covered by the commercial financing sector.
Keywords: renewable energy, financing
NCHRP 20-85. Expected 2012. Renewable Energy Guide for Highway Maintenance Facilities.
The objective of the research is to develop best practices for the planning, design, and operation of new and retrofitted highway maintenance facilities that are sustainable and energy efficient over their service lives through the effective use of energy capture technologies, including active, renewable energy sources, and passive (such as solar-thermal) building and site modifications. The best practices will be presented in the form of a guide providing regional- and facility function-specific information that is suitable for possible adoption by AASHTO. The guide also will include case studies of the planning, design, and operation of typical, new, and retrofitted state DOT maintenance facilities of different sizes, functions, ages, and energy usage and found in a variety of geographic and climatic regions in the United States.
Keywords: renewable energy; maintenance facilities
Pimentel, David, et al. September 1994. Renewable Energy: Economic and Environmental Issues. BioScience, Vol. 44, No. 8.
This article describes findings from an analysis of the potential of various renewable or solar energy technologies to supply the United States with its future energy needs. Diverse renewable technologies are assessed in terms of their land requirements, environmental benefits and risks, economic costs, and a comparison of their advantages. In addition, the researchers make a projection of the amount of energy that could be supplied by solar energy subject to the constraints of maintaining the food and forest production required by society.
Keywords: renewable energy potential
Science Applications International Corporation. 2012 expected. Renewable Energy Guide for Highway Maintenance Facilities. NCHRP 20-85.
The objective of this research is to develop best practices for the planning, design, and operation of new and retrofitted highway maintenance facilities that are sustainable and energy efficient over their service lives through the effective use of energy capture technologies. The best practices shall be presented in the form of a guide that provides regional- and facility function-specific information and is suitable for possible adoption by AASHTO.
Keywords: renewable energy; highway maintenance facilities
TRB. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2191, Energy and Global Climate Change 2010.
This report contains 22 papers that explore the effect of wide-based single tires on truck fuel efficiency; miles per gallon illusions and corporate average fuel economy distortions; freight transport, energy use, and emissions trends in Spain; diesel truck activity and fuel economy based on electronic control module data; cost of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles; electric vehicle charging impact on electricity costs; and an economic assessment of electric-drive vehicle operation.
Keywords: renewable energy, climate change, transportation
West-wide Energy Corridor Programmatic EIS Information Center.
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 directed the Department of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy and the Interior to designate energy corridors on federal land in 11 western states. The Agencies conducted a detailed environmental analysis at the programmatic level. The programmatic environmental impact statement analyzed two alternatives: a no action alternative and a proposed action, which involves designating 6,112 miles of energy corridors on federal lands in the 11 contiguous western states. Designated corridors would be the preferred locations on federally managed lands for future energy transport projects. The Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service each issued a record of decision amending land use plans in support of the designation of the energy transport corridors outlined in the PEIS.
Keyword: energy corridor

Solar Energy

Billitzer, Barbara. May/June 2010. Making It Happen: An unconventional thinker brings the nation's first solar highway to Oregon. Right of Way Magazine.
This article describes Oregon DOT's experience in establishing the nation's first "solar highway." According to the author, the system, which is located in the interchange of Interstate 205 and Interstate 5, is producing 30 percent of the energy needed to light the interchange at night.
Keywords: solar energy; solar highway; transportation; Oregon DOT; right of way
Carder, D.R., L. Hawker and A.R. Parry. March 2007. Motorway Noise Barriers as Solar Power Generators. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers.
During 2001 the United Kingdom's Highways Agency commissioned a study to assess the feasibility of generating renewable energy on motorways and trunk roads. The researchers recommended that the Highways Agency undertake a full-scale trial of noise barriers incorporating solar panels. In 2004, two rows of solar barriers were installed in a cutting to the east of junction 9 of the M27. The trial was carefully monitored and showed that south-facing land alongside highways can successfully be used for solar barriers. In terms of maintenance, rainfall was effective in washing the panels; however, vegetation needs to be cut back at least annually unless the barrier is installed in a paved area. There was no evidence that drivers were distracted by the presence of the barriers or that noise reflected from the barriers would create any significant disturbance opposite the site. Although solar barriers are a feasible means of generating renewable energy on the highway estate, a whole-life cost analysis showed that the electricity generated over 30 years would not pay for the cost of installing the barriers unless the price of electricity was many times its current value.
Keywords: renewable energy; solar energy; noise barriers; research and development; roads and highways
Center for Resource Solutions. October 2010. Best Practices in Public Claims for Solar Photovoltaic Systems.
The document presents a series of question and answers regarding PV and the issues specific to selling and claiming RECs for such systems.
Keywords: PV, solar, renewable energy credit
Covert, Adrian. August 27, 2009. Solar Panels Built Into Roads Could Be the Future of Energy. Popular Science.
The Idaho-based company "Solar Roadways" was awarded a Small Business Innovation Research grant to develop 12-by-12-foot solar panels that could be embedded into roads, pumping power into the electric grid. It is estimated that each solar road panel, which would cost approximately $7,000 each, could generate roughly 7.6 kwh of power per day. The panels may also feature LED road warnings and built-in heating elements that could prevent roads from freezing. Additional web links:;
Keywords: solar energy; solar road; pavement technology
Dorsey, Michael. August 11, 2008. Alternative Energy Hits the Road: Research at WPI Explores Turning Highways and Parking Lots into Solar Collectors.
The Worcester Polytechnic Institute has evaluated how well asphalt can collect solar energy, as well as the best ways to construct roads and parking lots to maximize their heat-absorbing qualities. The research team studied the energy-generating potential of asphalt using computer models and by conducting small- and large-scale tests. The tests were conducted on slabs of asphalt in which were imbedded thermocouples, to measure heat penetration, and copper pipes, to gauge how well that heat could be transferred to flowing water. Hot water flowing from an asphalt energy system could be used "as is" for heating buildings or in industrial processes, or could be passed through a thermoelectric generator to produce electricity. According to the project team, "roads and lots are typically resurfaced every 10 to 12 years and the retrofit could be built into that cycle. Extracting heat from asphalt could cool it, reducing the urban 'heat island' effect. Finally, unlike roof-top solar arrays, which some find unattractive, the solar collectors in roads and parking lots would be invisible."
Keywords: solar energy; asphalt; pavement technology
Ellard, William. December 29, 2008. A New Place for Solar Energy: Highway Right of Way.
The author asserts that right of way highway solar could be a solution to the nation's energy needs and could also reduce costs to manage highway right of ways. Another potential benefit would be to help wildlife managers create wildlife corridors for both human and wildlife safety. According to the author, a conservative estimate for US highway solar would be 20 million megawatts of total capacity.
Keywords: solar energy; solar highway; right of way
Good Company. 2010. Life-Cycle Greenhouse Gas Analysis for the Proposed West Linn Solar Highway Project.
A life-cycle GHG analysis was conducted on behalf of the Oregon DOT to quantify net GHG emissions over the life cycle of the proposed West Linn solar power facility. The analysis includes the following emissions sources and reductions: Life-cycle Stage 1 – Before (Planning and Construction); Life-cycle Stage 2 – During (Operation - Electricity Generation and Maintenance); and Life-cycle Stage 3 – After (Transport and Disposal of Facility Building Materials).
Keywords: greenhouse gas, life-cycle analysis, solar highway
Good Company. 2011. Solar Highway Program: From Concept to Reality.
This guidebook is intended to provide an overview for state DOTs of the process for developing solar PV projects in the highway ROW. The goal is help others navigate the process toward a successful solar PV installation by providing step-by-step information, case studies, and additional resources.
Keywords: highway, solar power
Kalki Energy. March 13, 2009. Technology Competitive Intelligence Report: Solar Energy and Power Generation.
A competitive intelligence landscape analysis was conducted to identify key owners behind issued patents and published patent applications in the field of solar energy; specifically pertaining to power generation by harnessing solar energy. According to the report, the last five years have witnessed a growth in developing, improving, and utilizing power derived from renewable energy sources. At a time when the world economy is going through a significant change, more and more organizations are looking forward to and are likely to invest in the 'energy for the future.' Therefore, it is likely that the a few prominent solar energy companies may play a pivotal role in changing market conditions and the competitive landscape in the world's most inhabited areas.
Keywords: solar energy; annual trends
Kilbert, C. et al. January 7, 2010. Research Services for Solar Power at Turkey Lake Service Plaza. University of Florida.
A University of Florida research team collaborated with the Florida Turnpike Authority and Florida Department of Transportation staff to examine contemporary solar technologies, particularly solar PV systems, for their potential to meet the energy needs of the Turkey Lake Service Plaza. The scope of the research included: (1) Evaluation of Solar Electric (PV), Solar Thermal (hot water), and Solar Lighting systems; (2) Assessment of the renewable energy generation potential of the Service Plaza; (3) Designing and planning of photovoltaic systems to determine the energy output; (4) Identification of innovative financing options; (5) Development of a marketing and education concept for the project. The research team concluded that by implementing the Net Zero Energy scenario, the annual electrical energy needs of all the facilities at the Turkey Lake Service Plaza could be met.
West, Larry. Sunny Side of the Street: Can Roads Be Used to Generate Solar Power?
The British firm Astucia has developed a road stud that contains small solar panels and emits LED light to illuminate dark roadways. On the 120 UK roads where the new studs have been installed, nighttime accidents are down some 70 percent. The Dutch firm Ooms Avenhorn Holding BV has developed a way to siphon solar heat from asphalt road surfaces and use it to de-ice roads and to help power nearby buildings. Additional web links:
Keywords: solar energy; solar highway; right of way; waste heat recovery

Wind Energy

Cavanaugh, Rebecca. January 10, 2007. The New Jersey Barrier.
Mark Oberholzer, runner-up in the 2006 Metropolis Next Generation Design Competition, proposed integrating turbines into the barriers between highway lanes that would harness the wind passing cars generate.
Keywords: wind energy; micro-wind turbine; highway; right of way; jersey barrier
Committee on Environmental Impacts of Wind Energy Projects, National Research Council. 2007. Environmental Impacts of Wind-Energy Projects.
As wind energy development continues to expand, federal, state and local agencies should adopt a consistent approach to evaluating the planning, regulation, and location of wind-energy projects. This report proposes a framework that can help in evaluating tradeoffs between the benefits of new wind-energy projects and risks of adverse environmental impacts before projects begin. It emphasizes the need to create opportunities for public input by incorporating participation by those whose well-being may be affected by siting decisions so these impacts can be minimized or avoided.
Illinois Center for Transportation. February 2009. Wind-Powered Electrical Systems – Highway Rest Areas, Weigh Stations, and Team Section Buildings.
This project considered the use of wind for providing electrical power at Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) highway rest areas, weigh stations, and team section buildings. The goal of the project was to determine the extent to which wind power could offset electricity costs, provide a reasonable return on investment, offset energy use, and provide educational opportunities. The analysis show that there are some combinations of location and wind turbines that may produce electricity at a competitive rate. One of the most important factors in this analysis is the cost of wind turbines, which is generally unknown (but can be approximated) and depends on many factors.
Keywords: wind energy
Kwartin, R. et al. December 2008. An Analysis of the Technical and Economic Potential for Mid-Scale Distributed Wind. National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
This report examines the status, restrainers, drivers, and estimated development potential of mid-scale (10 kW to 5,000 kW) distributed wind projects. This segment of the wind market has not enjoyed the same growth that central-station wind has experienced. The purpose of this report is to analyze why and to assess the market potential for this technology under current market and policy conditions. According to the researchers, one of the most significant barriers to the development of distributed wind is a general scarcity of turbine choices and turbine inventory available for purchase. Other barriers, such as siting issues, burdensome interconnection rules, aesthetic concerns, and fragmented state rules regarding net metering, are discussed. Additionally, most of the economic potential for distributed wind in the contiguous United States occurs in New York, Massachusetts, and Vermont.
Keywords: wind energy; distributed energy
McDonald, Colin. February 7, 2010. Wind-generated electricity will require wide swaths of land.
This article describes some of the concerns regarding land requirements of wind energy projects that property owners in Texas have expressed. According to the article, the Sierra Club supports wind power and transmission line expansion if their routes follow existing utility lines and highways even if that option is more expensive.
Prok, Josh. Spring 2008. Interstate Wind: Using New Technology to Enhance Transportation Fuel Investments. Transportation Law Journal.
This paper addresses the possibilities of harnessing the wind created by vehicles on interstate highways to generate electricity through recent technological advances. The researchers noted that the wind industry has been slow to view "wind" as anything more than a natural phenomenon (and thus ignores, for example, wind turbulence created on or in ground transportation corridors). Additional findings suggest that Congress failed to consider the benefits of capturing vehicle wind byproducts and, thus, should redouble its efforts to help American industries bring technologies, such as micro-wind technologies, into the domestic and international markets.
Keywords: wind energy; transportation
Renewable Energy Research Laboratory. Wind Data Report Blandford Rest Area: December 2008 to February 2009. University of Massachusetts.
Wind monitoring equipment was installed at the Blandford Rest Area in January 2008. This report summarizes the wind data collected during the Winter of 2008-2009, between December 2008 and February 2009. The mean recorded wind speed was 5.99 m/s (13.4 mph*) at 50 m and the prevailing wind direction was from the west-northwest. The average wind shear exponent between the two measured heights was 0.286. The average turbulence intensity at 50m for wind speeds between 10 m/s and 11 m/s was 0.2.
University of Hong Kong. March 15, 2007. HKU and Motorwave Limited Jointly Developed Micro-Wind Turbine Technology for Crowded Cities. Press Release.
The Department of Mechanical Engineering of The University of Hong Kong and Motorwave Limited have jointly developed and launched a new development in micro-wind turbine technology that enables wind turbines to start generating electricity at wind speeds as low as 2 meters per second and to be installed on balconies at home or rooftops of buildings. By using specially designed plastic gearwheels, as small as 26 cm in diameter, with a small generator, a micro-wind turbine can be arranged in an array of shapes and sizes, up to thousands of square meters. They can be located where conventional small wind turbines would not be allowed. Additional web link:
Keywords: wind energy; micro-wind
U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. July 2008. 20% Wind Energy by 2030.
The report considers some associated challenges, estimates the impacts, and discusses specific needs and outcomes in the areas of technology, manufacturing and employment, transmission and grid integration, markets, siting strategies, and potential environmental effects associated with a 20 percent wind scenario.
U.S. Government Accountability Office. September 2005. Wind Power: Impacts on Wildlife and Government Responsibilities for Regulating Development and Protecting Wildlife.
The GAO report assessed (1) what available studies and experts have reported about the impacts of wind power facilities on wildlife in the United States and what can be done to mitigate or prevent such impacts, (2) the roles and responsibilities of government agencies in regulating wind power facilities, and (3) the roles and responsibilities of government agencies in protecting wildlife. GAO reviewed a sample of six states with wind power development for this report. GAO recommends that FWS provide state and local regulatory agencies with information on the potential wildlife impacts from wind power and the resources available to help make decisions about where wind power development should be approved.

Solar and Wind Energy

American Wind Energy Association and Solar Energy Industries Association (February 2009). Building a Path to America's Clean Energy Future.
The United States lacks a modern interstate transmission grid to deliver carbon-free electricity to customers in highly populated areas of the country. Green power superhighways, an interstate transmission system to deliver remote renewable electricity resources to population centers, would address many of the transmission challenges facing our country. This paper outlines recommended steps policymakers can take to make green power superhighways a reality.
Keywords: clean energy; transmission grid, carbon-free electricity
Louis Berger Group, Inc. March 2011. Feasibility Study of Using Solar or Wind Power for Transportation Infrastructure. NCHRP 25-25/64.
The purpose of this research is to provide DOTs with technical and case study data on the use of solar or wind power as an alternative power source for across a wide variety of transportation infrastructure settings. The research considers existing technologies and those soon to become commercially viable that have not been applied to transportation settings but with some thought/creativity could have a transportation application.
Keywords: solar energy; wind energy; transportation; infrastructure
Permitting Solar and Wind Projects on Federal Lands: Webinar. July 29, 2010.
The panel discussed the current siting and permitting processes on Federal lands, and explored how the allocation of land and some of the new permitting mechanisms might affect current applicants and future developments. Presentations given included:
  • Bell, Andrew. The Law Office of Andrew C. Bell. "California's Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan" presentation.
  • Brady, Ray. Bureau of Land Management. "New Energy for America" presentation.
  • Daue, Alex. The Wilderness Society. "Renewable Energy and Wildlands Conservation" presentation.
  • Lazerwitz, David. Farella Braun + Martel LLP. "Permitting Solar and Wind Projects on the Federal Public Lands" presentation.
  • Pogacnik, Tom. California State Office of the Bureau of Land Management. "Managing Major Right-of-Way Permits: Notes from the Field" presentation.
  • Watson, Rebecca. Welborn Sullivan Meck and Tooley, P.C. "Permitting Solar/Wind Projects" presentation.
Keywords: solar energy; wind energy; Federal lands; permitting
Tres Amigas LLC. November 5, 2009. The Tres Amigas Superstation Project: Discussion Materials.
Tres Amigas, LLC has plans to unite the nation's electric grid. Utilizing the latest advances in power grid technology, Tres Amigas is focused on providing the first common interconnection of America's three power grids to help the country achieve renewable energy goals and facilitate the smooth, reliable and efficient transfer of green power from region to region. The Discussion Materials presentation discusses why a superstation project is necessary and how it is planned to operate.
Keywords: renewable energy; smart grid; transmission
Venner, Marie and Antonio Santalucia. June 2010. Environmental Corridor Management: NCHRP 25-25/63.
Many state DOTs are exploring the use of the right of way for energy and GHG reduction opportunities. Small renewable energy installations are now a widely promoted technological option for use in both remote locations and for use as part of broader energy supply configurations at DOTs, transportation authorities and other public sector entities. This research describes several examples from Europe and Australia where transportation agencies have installed REIs along highway right of ways. The authors also discuss details from Oregon DOT's experience with its Solar Highway Initiative. According to the study, the project will avoid roughly 43.5 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent each year that it operates. The estimated carbon payback period is less than five years. ODOT estimates that arrays on 120 miles of their 16,000 lane-miles of right-of-way could supply all of the electricity that the agency uses annually. In terms of wind energy, the researchers note that emerging policy and technological developments will only increase the practicality and feasibility for DOTs.
Keywords: solar energy; solar arrays, wind energy; highway; right of way

Geothermal Energy

Brown, Brian. October 1995. Klamath Falls Downtown Redevelopment Geothermal Sidewalk Snowmelt. GHC Bulletin.
The Klamath Falls area has had a long history of geothermal heat utilization. One notable example is the heating of the Esplanade Street ramp and bridge in 1948, which is still operating successfully. As of 1995, it was generating 58 Btu/hr/ft².
Keywords: geothermal energy; roadway heating
Lund, John W. 2000. Pavement Snow Melting. Geo-Heat Center, Oregon Institute of Technology.
This report provides an overview of the current state of the practice of using geothermal resources to heat pavement snow melting systems. Examples of systems in New Jersey, Wyoming, Virginia, Oregon, Japan, Switzerland, and Argentina are presented. Related Article: Boyd, Tonya L. 2003. New Snow Melt Projects – Klamath Falls, Oregon. Geo-Heat Center Quarterly Bulletin, Vol. 24, No. 3, Geo-Heat Center, Oregon institute of Technology.
Keywords: geothermal energy; roadway heating
Lienau, Paul, Gene Culver, and John Lund. 1989. Klamath Falls Geothermal Field, Oregon: Case History of Assessment, Development and Utilization. Geothermal Resources Council 1989 Annual Meeting.
The urban portion of U.S. 97 on Esplanade Street, a major truck route with a steep grade, was reconstructed in 1948, in order to widen the bridge across the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation's "A" canal. Since the approach and stop at an intersection caused difficulty with traffic stopped on the eight percent adverse grade, geothermal de-icing was incorporated in the design as an experiment. It was estimated that the pavement would be sufficiently clear of snow and ice to provide free travel at a temperature of -100F (-230C), and under conditions of a 3 inch (75 mm) per hour snow fall. Based on calculations in the report, the heat flow can melt up to 1/2 inch (12 mm) per hour snowfall, with heavier snow falls taking four to six hours to melt entirely. According to the authors, this has been substantiated by observations.
Related Article: Rea, Sharon. March 17, 2009. Geothermal Energy Resource Area – Klamath Falls.
Keywords: geothermal energy; roadway heating
Nydahl, John, et al. 1982. Geothermal Heating of Highway Structures. Transportation Research Record 860: Snow Control, Traffic Effects on New Concrete, and Corrosion
This report focuses on a Colorado Department of Highways' feasibility study to incorporate geothermal heating systems at critical locations in a proposed interstate in Glenwood Canyon. Results indicated that snow-cover duration on the roadways above the installed heat pipes was reduced by 96 percent or more than the unheated control areas. According to the authors, in cases requiring minimal snow-melting capability or involving preferential icing problems, the water temperature could possibly be as low as 100C (500F), which means that well water or municipal water supplies would be feasible water sources.
Keywords: geothermal energy; snow control
Strawn, Jon A. and Ivar A. Engen. February 1982. Geothermal Applications for Highway Rest Areas. EG&G Idaho, Inc. for USDOE.
This report describes a feasibility study, made for the South Dakota DOT, regarding geothermal applications for highway rest areas. Preliminary findings, which included estimates of capital, operation, and maintenance costs for the system, suggested that the retrofit of the heating systems in rest area structures at the test site was feasible.
Keywords: geothermal energy; rest areas; heating systems

Wave and Tidal Energy

NREL (W. Musial). August 2008. Status of Wave and Tidal Power Technologies for the United States.
This paper presents the status of marine applications for renewable energy as of 2008 from a U.S. perspective. The technologies examined include wave, tidal, and ocean current energy extraction devices that are currently being demonstrated in at least one ocean project. The paper also examines the resources for each of these technologies, the limitations to the current assessments, and the research and development needs of the marine renewable energy industry based on the author's experience and opinions.
Keywords: Wave energy; tidal energy

Alternative Fuels

EIA. April 2010. Alternatives to Traditional Transportation Fuels 2008.
These data include figures on the number of alternative fuel vehicles supplied, in use, and the amount of alternative fuels they consumed during 2008.
Keywords: alternative fuels; alternative fuel vehicles
Energy Information Administration. April 2010. Historical Data: Alternative Transportation Fuels and Alternative Fueled Vehicles
These archived data include figures on the number of alternative fuel vehicles supplied, in use, and the amount of alternative fuels they consumed. Data are available for 1994 through 2008.
Keywords: alternative fuels; alternative fuel vehicles; historical data
Kaiser, Jerry and Steve Bruckerhoff. January 2009. Switchgrass for Biomass Production by Variety Selection and Establishment Methods for Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa. Missouri National Resources Conservation Service, Agronomy Technical Note MO-37.
Keywords: biomass, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, switchgrass
Newman, Yoanna, Curtis Rainbolt, Mary J. Williams and Joao Vendramini. January 2008. Production of Biofuel Crops in Florida: Switchgrass. Agronomy Department, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Florida Cooperative Extension Service.
Keywords: biofuels, switchgrass, Florida
O'Connor, Cindy. September 14, 2010. Classifying Biofuel Subsidies: Farm Bill and WTO Considerations. Advanced Biofuels USA.
Nationwide, switchgrass is recommended for biofuel production because of its wide range of adaptation and high potential dry matter yield with relatively low fertility input. It can be used for both lignocellulosic ethanol production and in electricity generation, complementing coal as a co-firing agent supplement. This research investigates potential switchgrass biomass yields in Florida.
Keywords: biofuels, Farm Bill
Rinehart, Lee. 2006. Switchgrass as a Bioenergy Crop. National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.
This publication details the production of switchgrass for use as a cellulose-to-ethanol and direct-combustion feedstock, and focuses on the agronomic and ecologic considerations of switchgrass production.
Keywords: bioenergy, biofuels, switchgrass
Sullivan, Colin. March 10, 2009. California Planning for Alternative Fuel Highway. Scientific American.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Vision 2010 plan sought to build, by 2010, a hydrogen highway composed of 150 to 200 fueling stations spaced every 20 miles along California's major highways. By 2009, only 24 hydrogen fueling stations had been built, most of them near Los Angeles. The lack of stations was due, in part, to a lack of commercially available hydrogen-fueled vehicles. Instead of the highway concept, the new goal is to develop "clusters" – a network of stations in a specific region to fuel the cars where they reside. The market for hydrogen-fueled vehicles is expected to increase as a result of the state's zero-emissions vehicles rule, which requires automakers to make 7,500 pure zero emission vehicles in 2012-2014, and 25,000 in 2015-2017.
Keywords: hydrogen, alternative fuels
USDA. October 2010. Effects of Increased Biofuels on the U.S. Economy in 2022.
This report examines how meeting the RFS-2 would affect various key components of the U.S. economy.
Keywords: Bioenergy, ethanol, petroleum, RFS-2
USDOE Biofuels Program.
Yacobucci, Brent. January 7, 2005. Alternative Transportation Fuels and Vehicles : Energy, Environment, and Development Issues. CRS Report for Congress.
One of the strategies for reducing the dependence on petroleum imports is to produce vehicles that run on alternatives to gasoline and diesel fuel. This report examines consumption rates, costs, infrastructure requirements, performance, and safety considerations for each alternative fuel. According to the report, "any policy to support alternative fuel vehicles must address performance and cost concerns, as well as the issue of fueling infrastructure. Within this context, a 'chicken and egg' dilemma stands out: The vehicles will not become popular without the fueling infrastructure, and the fueling infrastructure will not expand if there are no customers to serve."
Keywords: alternative fuels; propane; natural gas; biodiesel; ethanol; methanol; electricity; hydrogen; coal-derived liquid fuels
Yacobucci, Brent and Tom Capehart. March 31, 2008. [Updated] Report for Congress: Selected Issues Related to an Expansion of the Renewable Fuel Standard. Congressional Research Service, RL34265.
This report outlines some of the supply issues facing biofuels industries, including implications for agricultural feedstocks, infrastructure concerns, energy supply for biofuel production, and fuel price uncertainties.
Keywords: biofuels, feedstocks, Renewable Fuel Standard

News, Opinion, and Commentary

Abuelsamid, Sam. May 1, 2007. Highway wind turbines to capture energy from passing vehicles.
Joe De La Ree, an Arizona State University student, proposed a way of re-capturing some of the energy expended by vehicles moving at high speeds on highways. The proposal involved mounting horizontal wind turbines above the roadway that would be driven by the moving air generated by the passing traffic. Original blog entry:
Keywords: wind energy; wind turbines; highway
Ellard, William. December 13, 2008. A New Use for Solar Energy: Highway Right of Way.
The author suggests that highways provide good locations for solar power systems. He argues that land managers could also funnel wildlife away from dangerous highway crossings and into safe wildlife corridors with the proper alignment of such systems.
Keywords: solar energy; highway; right of way
Hirsh, Art. July 20, 2010. Right of Way and Alternative Energy. TerraLogic Blog.
TerraLogic has teamed with David Evans and Associates and Colorado State University-Pueblo to identify innovative energy generation capabilities within CDOT ROW to power rest areas, maintenance facilities and intersection lighting and signaling. The goals and objective of the ongoing CDOT Alternative Energy Project are: (1) identifying energy resources within CDOT ROW that are high in quantity and quality and will result in reduced operation costs, (2) conceptualize and identify potential energy cost saving measures using alternative energy generation that will reduce CDOT energy costs, (3) evaluate the physical and operational potential of using CDOT ROW areas to generate and sell energy to electric utility companies throughout Colorado, and (4) implement cost effective alternative energy sources into CDOT operations state-wide thus saving financial resources and reducing indirect greenhouse gas emissions. The final report is expected to be delivered to CDOT in January 2011.
Keywords: alternative energy, right of way
Isaac, Matt. July 23, 2010. The Interstate Wind Dilemma.
This opinion article asserts that vertical-axis wind turbines should line the nation's interstate highway system.
Keywords: wind energy; wind turbines; highway
Jacobs, Karrie. November 11, 2009. Revolutionary Road. Op-Ed Contributor. New York Times.
The opinion article recommends a number of new uses for the 47,000-mile long Interstate highway system. The author asserts that highway corridors are well-suited for the transportation of energy. Power generated from rural wind farms and solar panels can be transmitted along the right-of-way, and plug-in hybrids can recharge from this grid.
Keywords: renewable energy; alternative energy; solar energy; highway
Levinson, Yoni. June 23, 2009. The Green Roadway – A Good Idea, But Not New.
The article argues that installing solar panels and wind turbines along the road may achieve additional and previously unconsidered goals than simply generating clean electricity. Instead, according to the author, "by bringing the instruments of clean, renewable energy into the public eye (on the road as opposed to being hidden at a coal plant, for example), projects such as The Green Roadway could help establish these technologies in the public consciousness.
Keywords: clean energy; highway; wind; solar
Moskowitz, Ira. May 27, 2010. Israel's Innowattech to Provide Renewable Energy for Highway Signs in Italy. Green Prophet.
Israel-based Innowattech, which develops technology to convert mechanical energy from vehicular or rail traffic into electricity, is working with Italian infrastructure and civil engineering contractor Impregilo SpA to light road signs on the Venice-Trieste highway in Italy. The generators developed at Innowattech will be placed beneath the highway's upper asphalt layer. The electrical charge generated by the technology is created during the movement of vehicles on the road. The electrical charge is stored via dedicated electrical systems and will supply electrical energy for lighting Variable Message System signs. Drivers will read traffic reports on electronic signs, which will be powered by electricity from the drivers' own vehicles.
Keywords: vehicular energy, highway
Moskowitz, Ira. April 27, 2010. Israel Plans Wind-Powered Lighting for Coastal Highway. Green Prophet.
The Israel National Roads Company is initiating steps to install small turbines on lighting poles on the coastal highway running along Israel's Mediterranean coastline to take advantage of the sea winds. It is also looking into using the thousands of acres of available land at interchanges to place photovoltaic solar arrays.
New York Times. July 23, 2009. Harvesting Clean Energy Along the Road.
The article highlights potential strategies to develop clean energy along roadways, including the Green Roadway project. The project founders hold multiple patents for wind, solar, and geothermal technologies. The technologies can be used to create utility-scale systems that can plug into the existing grid infrastructure. The article suggests that each 10-mile stretch of the Green Roadway system could generate enough energy to power up to 2,000 homes. According to the author, the installed cost would be about $2.6 million and $4.2 million for the solar and wind components, respectively.
Keywords: clean energy; highway; wind; solar; geothermal
Scott, Paul. September 26, 2011. A Ready Path for Green Powerlines. Engineering News-Record.
This opinion article describes how, in the author's view, the use of existing freeway ROW offers an attractive option for transmitting renewable energy, as well as serving as a suitable location for the installation of renewable generating facilities on structures, roadside slopes, along fence lines and within the pavement itself.
Keywords: renewable energy; highway; freeway; utility
Valen, Don. June 22, 2009. Pipelines can now share Texas highway right of way. Fort Worth Business Press.
In 2009, the Texas state legislature passed a bill enabling the Texas State Highway system to allow subsurface access to a controlled access highway ROW.
Keywords: right of way; Texas State Highway; pipelines
Walzer, Robert. January 19, 2010. Solar Power Advocates Hopeful for 2010. New York Times.
According to this article, 500 to 600 megawatts of solar power will be built during 2010 across the United States, approximately double the figure from 2009. States expected to produce the most solar energy are California and New Jersey.
Keyword: solar energy
Woody, Todd. August 10, 2010. Recycling Land for Green Energy Ideas. New York Times.
The article describes examples from across the country of a "new approach" to locating renewable energy projects: putting them on polluted or previously used land.
Keywords: renewable energy
Updated: 9/1/2016
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