The University of Washington in the US and engineering firm CH2M Hill have unveiled the world’s first rating system to determine the sustainability of road design and construction.

The system called Greenroads outlines minimum requirements to qualify as green roadway and evaluates the road’s environmental, economic and social impact based on everything from construction materials and practices to noise pollution, habitat control and bike lanes.

The requirements include basic building, waste, pollution, lifecycle and outreach plans such as a noise mitigation plan, storm-water management plan and waste management plan.

Voluntary features including usage of recycled or local resources, reducing reliance on fossil fuels, minimising water use, incorporating quiet pavement and implementing smart traffic management systems can fetch up to 118 extra points to the road projects.

According to researchers, this performance metric essentially eyes three goals that include recognising companies already using sustainable methods, providing a catalogue of ideas for greener practices and offering an incentive for agencies and companies to build more environmentally-friendly roads.