The need for highways to safely connect us has never been greater, and at the Ray C. Anderson Foundation, our Mission Zero Corridor has evolved as something much bigger than a memorial highway. Today, it is becoming a fitting tribute to a man of great vision as it evolves as The Ray, an “epiphany” with a great vision behind it.
Here’s the problem – identified by the Georgia Tech School of Architecture as part of the Blueprints Feasibility Study we did in 2014, in partnership with the Georgia Conservancy and Interface:
• We lose $277 billion in property damage annually due to vehicle accidents
• We emit over 5 million tons of CO2 every year
• Our roadways damage natural habitat ecology on 15% of US land
• We spend $3.3 billion each year on wasted energy
• And roadway deaths have increased more than 5% since 2011
As a result of that extensive feasibility report, we were inspired to ask, What if?
What if we start over?
What if we reimagine the way we connect our communities, our lives and our world in a way that’s safer, more responsive to the climate, more regenerative to the environment, more uplifting to the spirit, and more capable of generating economic opportunity?
On 16 miles of interstate in Georgia, we’re innovating the highway corridor from the ground up, creating a living lab that tests and proves what’s possible for roadway ecosystems across the globe, and we are calling it The Ray.
Today, we’re building bioswales with native plant species to limit pollution and flooding.
We are collecting traffic, weather, collision and pollution data to inform smarter design.
And we are thinking about creating solar barriers to reduce both noise pollution and traffic, and solar farms that would connect with our community. We’re exploring how to generate energy to unlock the value of the road, and imagining new technologies that connect the road to the car to systems that make us safer and smarter.
By 2020, we hope that The Ray’s innovations will include wildlife conservation, climate modeling, renewable construction materials, better, more beautiful lighting and signage and improved vehicle gas mileage and safety.
The Ray will be a zero carbon, zero deaths, zero waste, zero impact highway—that’s the vision. We hope you will join us! Ride The Ray and join the movement at www.theray.org.