The National Science Foundation (NSF) has approved $40,000 for an Early Concept Grant for EAGER: Improving Pedestrian Safety Using Pervious Concrete to Reduce Slip-Related Falls, beginning January 2010. This one-year project will provide support for one graduate student and enable the PI’s, Dr. Greg King and Dr. John Kevern, to advance their concept in an effort to seek additional, more extensive funding in the future.
Pervious concrete is becoming a widespread stormwater management tool, especially in cold climates, for its ability to reduce stormwater volume and quantity of pollutants contained therein. Some large municipalities such as Minneapolis and Chicago have begun installing entire pervious concrete roads to help manage flooding. The high permeability of this pavement makes melting snow and ice much less likely to refreeze and form surface ice. Less surface water, coupled with its open surface texture, may result in a much safer pavement under adverse winter conditions. Slipping and falling is a concern both for actual and perceived mobility, particularly among older adults. Pervious concrete is likely to provide a safer walking surface by reducing incidences of falling, thereby helping maintain the independence and mobility of older adults and lowering hospital and insurance costs for everyone.
The expertise at UMKC in concrete material and biomechanics, will allow characterization of pedestrian biomechanics and comparison between traditional and pervious concrete pavements. The surface characteristics of the pavement types will be characterized in the Human Balance and Ambulation Research Laboratory at UMKC under dry and icy conditions using force sensors and motion capture equipment. This interdisciplinary research will determine how pervious concrete impacts pedestrians in comparison to traditional pavement.