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Project summary

In this project we collect, combine, and analyse knowledge of the characteristics of road runoff pollution (composition, quantity) being discharged from roads is crucial for the evaluation of its potential impacts on water bodies and related ecosystems, and to inform decisions on the need to construct treatment systems for impacts mitigation.


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Work packages

The work programme is organised into 6 major WPs. WPs 1-4 correspond closely with the scientific objectives and outputs stated in the call, WP5 focuses on ensuring maximum impact is achieved through the implementation of a robust dissemination strategy with WP6 outlining the project management activities which underpin successful project completion.

Click on each WP number in the below image to get more information on its contents

About the project

The world population of 7.5 billion is growing at an estimated 80 million people per year. 54% of people are currently estimated to live in urban areas, with the trend towards urban living predicted to continue until the end of the century. The rapid growth of urban areas leads to increased residential, public and commercial traffic and a continuously growing transportation infrastructure (e.g. roads, highways, motorways and parking lots with associated street furniture such as signs, barriers and street lights). Whilst transport and its associated infrastructure make a major contribution to quality-of-life, it also has an environmental impact in terms of associated pollution emissions. Delivering the benefits of a fit-for-purpose transportation system whilst mitigating negative environmental impacts is a central challenge to be addressed if a sustainable transport infrastructure is to be delivered.

 

Road runoff contains a wide range of pollutants generated by traffic (routine and as a result of accidental spils/incidents), road materials and street furniture, as well as contributions from activities associated with road construction, operation and maintenance works. Such pollutants may be directly deposited or emitted to air where they will settle due to gravitational or precipitation driven activities. Whilst these sources are in principle well-defined and unambiguous and the generic types of pollutants expected to occur in road runoff predictable, the prediction of pollutant loads and concentrations are much more uncertain. The processes underlying the build-up of pollutants on road surfaces and their subsequent wash-off is subject to multiple sources of variations, from road surface type and texture to antecedent weather conditions and the intensity, frequency and magnitude of rainfall events. These must be viewed as stochastic phenomena as it is impossible or impractical to determine the exact process boundary conditions. Tools applying an understanding of pollutant sources, their mobilisation and transport to the receiving surface and groundwater bodies (held within a range of geologies) of varying vulnerabilities must hence be viewed in a statistic – or risk assessment – context.

 

In this project we will assess existing stochastic and risk based models and conceptual approaches that are applied to predict the pollution concentrations and loads in road runoff within a variety of contexts. We will furthermore assess the potential to integrate concepts and approaches from air quality models to improve the pollution runoff models existing risk prediction. Building on the critique of tools developed to derive pollutant loadings and concentrations (WP1) and assess receiving water body vulnerability (WP2), approaches to support the mitigation of identified risks using sustainable drainage technologies during road operation (WP3) and construction (WP4) will be developed. A number of measures and treatment systems can mitigate adverse impacts on receiving surface and groundwater bodies. In this work we focus on the use of structural blue-green best management practices, analysing what methods are available, how they function and develop user-friendly tools/ guidance in cooperation with stakeholders as to how to select the most appropriate solution under a given set of conditions.

Project summary

In this project we collect, combine, and analyse knowledge of the characteristics of road runoff pollution (composition, quantity) being discharged from roads is crucial for the evaluation of its potential impacts on water bodies and related ecosystems, and to inform decisions on the need to construct treatment systems for impacts mitigation.

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