Solar energy project receives AASHTO high-impact award

10/20/2023 McCall Macomber

Written by McCall Macomber

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials recognized an Illinois Center for Transportation and Illinois Department of Transportation project as one of 16 high-value research projects nationwide.

AASHTO gives its annual Sweet 16 awards to high-value research projects that address pressing transportation concerns and implement state-level solutions.

The selected ICT-IDOT project, R27-207: Technical and Financial Feasibility Study for Installation of Solar Panels at IDOT-Owned Facilities, aims to help the State of Illinois acquire 25% of its energy from renewable sources by 2025.

Christopher Schmidt, IDOT’s air quality manager, led the project with Todd Rusk and Brian Deal, associate director and director, respectively, of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Smart Energy Design Assistance Center.

The researchers assessed the possibility of obtaining and installing solar panels on lands and buildings owned by IDOT.

They explored three purchasing methods to procure solar projects, created financial models and developed a mapping tool to help IDOT identify potential sites for solar panels.

Below is a full list of AASHTO’s 2023 Sweet 16 recipients:

Region 1

  • Maine: Fiber Reinforced Polymer Composite Tub Girders in Bridge Applications
  • Vermont: Effectiveness of Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons at Mid-Block Crosswalks
  • Connecticut: Repair of Steel Beam/Girder Ends with Ultra High-Strength Concrete (Phase III: Implementation and Training)
  • New Hampshire: Use of Smart Rocks to Improve Rock Slope Design

Region 2

  • Florida: Evaluation of FDOT Corrosion Prevention and Control Program
  • Virginia: Steel Culvert Repairs with High-Performance Fiber-Reinforced Concrete
  • South Carolina: SCDOT Scope of Services Template
  • Georgia: Extended Field Testing and Enhancement of a Portable Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection System

Region 3

  • Wisconsin: Bridge Element Deterioration for Midwest States (IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MI, MN, ND, NE, OH, SD, WI)
  • Michigan: Evaluation of an Active Traffic Management System with Part-Time Use of the Inside Shoulder
  • Illinois: Technical and Financial Feasibility Study for Installation of Solar Panels at IDOT-Owned Facilities
  • Indiana: Road Condition Detection and Classification from Existing CCTV Feed

Region 4

  • California: Generation of Renewable Electrical Power Utilizing Photovoltaic Systems on the State Highway Right-of-Way
  • Colorado: Using Infrasound Technology to Detect Avalanches
  • Montana: MDT Wildlife Accommodation Process
  • Oregon: Eyes in the Sky: Bridge Inspections with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

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This story was published October 20, 2023.