New Report on Pavement and Urban Heat Islands

Researchers from ASU’s National Center of Excellence on Smart Innovations who are also affiliated with ASU’s Urban Climate Research Center have recently completed a study: Critical Review and Gap Analysis of Impacts from Pavements on Urban Heat Island for the National Asphalt Pavement Association.

The objective of the study was to identify knowledge gaps regarding the scientific understanding of UHI and effective mitigation measures, with a focus on the use of cool pavements. The author team, comprising Graduate Research Associate Chenghao Wang, Associate Professor Zhihua Wang, and Professor Kamil Kaloush reviewed the scientific literature from the past decade to summarize recent scientific advances in cool pavements. They reviewed existing efforts on reflective pavements, permeable pavements, and other innovative pavement designs used in UHI mitigation. Reflective pavements cool surface temperature by absorbing less solar radiation and therefore reduce summer energy consumption and carbon emissions, but they may lead to unintended consequences such as increased energy and cost for heating during winters and increased human thermal exposure.

An online survey was conducted to better understand perceptions of UHI mitigation strategies and their implementation from personnel in the industry, academia, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and interested professionals. The researchers identified 12 knowledge gaps based on the current state of research and implementation as well as the general perceptions learned from the survey results.