Renewable Energy at Rest Area Assessment

Focus Area



Air Quality, Environmental Process






1-2 years

Research Idea Scope

The objective of the proposed project would be to
evaluate the required attributes of highways rest areas for renewable energy
generation, storage and utilization.

Urgency and Payoff

Urgency and Payoff: The MAP-21 legislation has provisions
making the sponsorship of renewable energy facilities at rest areas more likely
or possible than ever before. The proposed research project would analyze
available information for selected rest areas (select a model site per
state/region?), such as: highway access, seasonal usage, square footage, date
of construction, type of construction, use patterns, and proximity to national
parks, communications towers or other potentially significant sources of
interferences, as well as linkage to 
major electrical transmission lines that could provide convenient
interconnections to the electricity grid. The analysis would result in
development of a suitable site profile and of guidance for different scales of
renewable energy projects at rest areas. The site profile and/or guidance would
be based upon a set of criteria that could include minimum requirements for
natural resource availability, site acreage, distances from travel lanes,
distance from residences and other development, construction and maintenance access,
electrical interconnection points, as well as environmental and other pertinent
constraints. The research would potentially 
assist state DOTs reduce life cycle cost for renewable energy
facilities, conceptualize sustainable and renewable actions and features
relevant to highway rest areas, improve the visitor experience, and reduce GHG
emissions in nonconformity areas.

Suggested By

Carson Poe, Aviva Brecher, and Gina Filosa, USDOT Volpe Center 617-494-2765

[email protected]