This New Pavement Spray Could Bring TLC to Cities!

Meet the road spray that may keep streets spick and span.

Clean street with crosswalk and traffic lights

(ProStockStudio /

What if our city streets could act like forests and reduce pollution? Thanks to scientific innovation, roads treated with a new pavement technology can now literally eat smog and help keep cities cool for the wellbeing of their citizens.

Since there is little room for forests in urban areas, where air pollution actually occurs, Pavement Technology Inc. (PTI), together with researchers from Louisiana State University, came up with an asphalt spray called A.R.A.-1 Ti. This innovation can reduce urban heat as well as the pollution generated by cars. It aims to tackle the challenges climate change brings, science website Gizmodo details. 

The spray’s exact formula hasn’t been revealed, but it is known to be based on titanium oxide, a component contained in many sunscreens on the market.This compound acts as a photocatalyst, so when ultraviolet rays from the sun activate its electrons, light and heat are absorbed and dispersed. Through a chemical process, titanium oxide also breaks down toxins in the air. 

​​“In good conditions, we can achieve [a] 60% reduction”, said  Michael Durante, PTI vice president of finance and strategic planning, to the American News Magazine Engineering News-Record, when talking about harmful gases emitted by motor exhausts. 

But the spray is not only meant to address overheating and to remove car toxic emissions like nitrous oxides and other pollutants. It can also “revitalize aging asphalt” and make it stronger, preventing cracks generated by severe heat, the Ohio-based firm states, according to Gizmodo. 

This impressive list of properties has encouraged several cities in the US including Orlando, Charlotte, Raleigh, Greenville, and Charleston to try out the product.

The success stories keep adding up. At Orlando International Airport, taxiway pavements that had been sprayed with the titanium dioxide-based formula have already managed to reduce nitrogen oxide rates by half, Engineering News-Record reveals. And in Charleston, the pavement treatment is being used in low-income neighborhoods that have many asphalt-coated roads. Areas like Union Heights and Rosemont, both extremely affected by the effects of heat, Gizmodo details. 

The spray can be applied on pavements, runways, bridges, parking lots, highway shoulders and other asphalt surfaces, the company points out on its website. It also suggests that while heat shortens pavement life, their product’s components can extend it from five to ten years, which translates into resilient, sustainable roads. 

According to a video released by the company, a single mile of treated roads can capture and oxidize as much pollution as 20 acres of trees. And although green spaces are still necessary and cannot be fully replaced due to their multiple environmental and health benefits, innovations like A.R.A.-1 Ti are extremely promising.

It may be just a matter of time before many more decision-makers give this groundbreaking “road rejuvenator” a try. Then, we may expect to see the major benefits it can bring to public health, positively impacting the lives of billions living in urban areas worldwide.

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