Asphalt used on road surfaces are byproducts from fossil fuel. With the ultimate goal of eliminating the use of fossil fuel to combat climate change, are there any good alternatives for road surfaces? I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a viable replacement of asphalt in the works, or even a plan to replace it in any environmental discussions before. At least, not enough for me to notice.

Extented question would be: what are some products derived from fossil fuel that are used in everyday life, but still lack viable alternatives you don’t see enough discussions about?

  • PonyOfWar@pawb.social
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    10 months ago

    Sure, you wouldn’t put them on highways. But I’d like to have less of those anyway. They’re decent for cycling or driving at lower speeds.

    • strawberry@artemis.camp
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      10 months ago

      dunno if I’d call it decent. bumps will wear out suspension components prematurely, meaning they’ll have to be replaced more often. so more metal and rubber being produced. is it enough to make brick not worth it? idk. also worth noting that asphalt is far grippier than brick. more grip = safer

      • PonyOfWar@pawb.social
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        10 months ago

        I think you really overestimate the bumpiness of those kind of roads. They’re not like medieval cobbleroads.

        • ormr@reddthat.com
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          10 months ago

          We have all kinds in my city: Medieval cobblestone, brick roads and asphalt. As a cyclist I have to tell you that I hate all kinds of brick roads that I have encountered. Even when they’re not the horrible middle age version, they will often get deformed by roots or depression of the ground quite rapidly, making them even more bumpy. For this reason I think, I saw in Sweden in an otherwise bricky city center that they had a narrow asphalt lane on the side of the road for cyclists. I was just amazed that someone would spend that much thought into what’s great for cyclists. As a cyclist I really love asphalt :D

          • intensely_human@lemm.ee
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            10 months ago

            Let’s be real here. Asphalt is the result of tens of thousands of years of human decision making, all of it heavily invested in finding the best solution to each problem.

          • PonyOfWar@pawb.social
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            10 months ago

            they will often get deformed by roots or depression of the ground quite rapidly

            That’s true, but more of a maintenance issue IMO. Brick roads do have the advantage that workers can just take some of the bricks out, fix whatever is wrong underneath and put the same bricks back on. Can’t really do that with asphalt, which will eventually deform as well.

        • Instigate@aussie.zone
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          10 months ago

          I think you underestimate how small differences have large results when we’re talking about nationwide or population-wide issues. If there are a million cars on the road and this change makes suspensions wear 5% faster, then every X years (however long it would usually take for them to wear) there are an extra 50,000 cars needing replacements. That’s not an insignificant amount. Scale that up to larger countries that have tens or hundreds of millions of cars and the result gets even larger.

          Small differences make large impacts. 1.5°C average global warming is having disastrous effects on the environment and our capacity to thrive. COVID-19 has a Case Fatality Rate of around 1% (depending on country) and it has caused nearly 7 million deaths - more than the amount of Jewish people murdered in the Holocaust and similar to the Holodomor.

          • GissaMittJobb@lemmy.ml
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            9 months ago

            Consider the fact that you’re unlikely to make a trip to the other side of the world if it weren’t for the fact that airplanes exist and they cover the distance very fast.

            Higher speeds enable different trips to happen - the speed changes the types and distances of transportation that happen.

          • WalrusDragonOnABike@kbin.social
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            10 months ago

            Cars are the least efficient means of transporting people and make all other means of transporting less efficient. Less cars = more transportation happening.

            • intensely_human@lemm.ee
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              9 months ago

              Not if people need to go to every point on the map, throughout the whole road grid.

              But I think we can consolidate vehicles a bit.

              Something like electric bikes or segways or scooters for the last mile helps cover the entire grid.

              And we could have double the number of buses, maybe with demand-based scaling of bus lines (no doubt they already do this but I bet it’s on the scale of months instead of hours).

              But those other forms of transport don’t provide privacy, and we really like the privacy of a car.

              The turbo lift from star trek is a cool idea. Just a room you stand in that takes you wherever. That provides some privacy.

              I think more fundamental than the logistical aspects of it, the main hurdle is that sense of owning the space you’re traveling in. In my car I’ve got a thousand little tweaks I’ve made.

              Maybe each person could have a vehicle configuration that gets loaded up into the generic shared vehicles, so when they get in it feels like theirs, has all the same things ready.