The Road More Traveled: An Asphalt Alternative for the Future?


Grab the snacks, fill the coffee thermos and make sure you’ve got your favorite music to while away the hours because we’re going on a road trip. From where to where? That’s an insignificant detail. Our goal is to drive every mile of paved road in the United States. Hopefully, the company and music are good, because even at an average speed of 65 miles per hour, driving for 12 hours per day, it’s going to take us a smidge over 14 years to complete the four million miles of US roadways that our nation’s CAD engineers and designers contribute to regularly. Buckle up, crank up the volume and let’s go!

Annual estimates of asphalt-related aerosol emissions exceed those from motor vehicles.

Asphalt, also known as bitumen, is a sticky, black, highly viscous form of petroleum. In the US, 85 percent of asphalt is used for road surfaces and the balance is primarily shared amongst the roofing and waterproofing industries. The asphalt concrete mix used for paving roads is typically five percent asphalt cement and 95 percent aggregate, such as stone, sand and gravel.

Chemistry professor, Dr. Rajagopalan Vasudevan — aka “Plastic Man” — is the father of plastic road construction.

Asphalt Impact

Water exposed to contaminants in the asphalt flows into municipal water systems, lakes, rivers, streams and the ocean, exerting a negative impact on the environment.

New Materials for New Miles

The first plastic road in Kathmandu.

When asphalt roads heat up, sufficient invisible aerosol particulate to cause lung damage is emitted.

Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa: 1.5 tons of plastic were used per kilometer of road, the equivalent of 1.8 million plastic shopping bags.

Circular Solution to a Straight Problem

Final Thoughts on Fantastic Plastic

Plastic roads are a great solution to the global plastic waste epidemic, reducing plastic pollution and contributing to carbon neutrality.