Researchers developing pervious pavements over the past few decades have commendably demonstrated long-term run-off reduction using a diverse collection of materials. Today, pervious pavements are widely recognized as a low impact development technique and a type of green infrastructure, and installations are proliferating throughout the United States and worldwide. The entire field of pervious pavements though, is being profoundly stunted by three persistent problems: conflicting nomenclature, flawed testing standards, and the absence of a holistic green design framework. This study examines each problem and proposes novel solutions. On nomenclature, a multi-channeled study of the terms “pervious”, “permeable”, and “porous” considers each word’s etymology and usage in the academic literature, in ASTM International standards, and by (U.S.-based) governmental entities. Support is found for using pervious pavements (i.e., “through” the “road”) as the over-arching category of all water passable pavements, branching down into porous pavements (i.e., “full of pores”, including porous asphalt and porous concrete) and permeable pavements (i.e., “containing passages”, often between paver units). ASTM International standards are shown to insufficiently account for the impact of paver unit size on infiltration rate, warranting the development of a more reliable testing method featuring variable infiltration ring size, shape, and placement. Finally, a ten-part holistic green design framework is elucidated for use in assessing candidate pavements and engineering new pavements, contextualizing the latest pervious pavement research and illuminating a brighter path forward.
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