Porous Concrete for Pedestrian Pavements
- Gravel: It is considered to be an unpaved road which generally provides the lowest level of service to users. It is usually composed of 6–20 mm aggregates, with up to 20% voids. To achieve a regular surface, the runoff coefficient of which ranges between 0.30 and 0.50, 4–8 cm thick layers are roller compacted; its structural and functional success depends on the geotechnical characteristics of the bottom layer.
- Mastic asphalt: It is a mixture composed of bitumen binder, stone filler, and mineral powder heated and mixed in the hot state. It is pourable in place and suitable for manual laying on the subgrade. The mixture has a low void content. The percentage content of bitumen is higher than in asphalt mixtures (i.e., up to 8%); therefore, a slight excess of binder may occur and cause bleeding. This material provides an up to 30 mm thick continuous and waterproof lining to protect the subgrade against rainwater.
- Porous mastic asphalt: It is a bituminous mixture, the grading aggregate of which results in a 10%–15% void content. It meets the needs for an impermeable and compacted bottom layer.
- Reinforced lawn: It allows grass to be incorporated into a plastic grid paver to provide a permeable surface. The relatively thin depth of these systems and their inherent flexibility do not permit load carriage on this surface. Its permeability depends on the geometry and pattern of the elements and the filling material (e.g., natural soil or gravel).
- Porous concrete: It is composed of a pervious concrete surface with a 15%–25% void content laid on a granular foundation. The pavement structure is composed of an 8–10 cm thick surface layer. Its use is possible in the absence of a water-sensitive subsurface.
- Concrete pavers: They have voids at the joints to allow water to pass through. As for porous concrete, it should have adequate subsurface conditions to detain stormwater and a level bottom to allow for uniform infiltration into an open-graded reservoir below. Concrete grid pavers are a type of open-cell modular pavement, the cells of which are filled with soil and grass; up to 40% of the paved surface could be permeable .
- Asphalt is the most frequently used material to pave sidewalks in urban areas because it ensures good results in terms of regularity, adherence, and cost effectiveness of the investment, and it is quick to build, allowing for traffic to swiftly reopen. However, it suffers from environmental impacts due to its impermeability, low SRI, and difficulty in obtaining a good fitting in the surrounding environment .
- Porous concrete ensures good technical and environmental performances due to the mechanical, physical, and thermal characteristics of the material. However, it suffers from high cost of installation and waiting time for traffic to reopen.
- Reinforced lawn presents certain issues because its modular geometry requires more time to build than monolithic surfaces, and its durability and possible carriage capacity (e.g., in the presence of driveway) depend on the characteristics of the material used. Moreover, its functional, economic, and environmental results are never appreciable.
- The less-impacting solution (i.e., gravel) is not compatible with the needs of users (e.g., low level of service, not powder free, non-weather-conditioned usability) and infrastructure managers (e.g., maintenance costs). However, gravel provides for a “cold”, eco-friendly, and permeable pavement.
2. Research Methodology
- Planning: identification of the need which justifies the systematic literature review. Particularly, the research questions are
- How do stormwater management criticalities interfere with urban life?
- Which pavement materials are used at the international level to manage runoff and prevent flooding?
- What are the pros and cons of porous concrete pavements (monolithic and modular) adopted by road agency bodies?
- Conduction: implementation of a search strategy compliant with the previous phase.
- Reporting results: description of the results, answers to the goal of the study, and discussion of the results .
3. Materials and Construction
- Aggregates: The aggregate gradation typically consists of single-sized or a binary mixture of coarse aggregates and it has a significant influence on the properties of pervious concrete. Coarse aggregates range between 9 and 19 mm, while fine aggregates (less than 10% by weight of total aggregates) are added to increase the strength of the concrete, but they gradually reduce the void content .
- Cement: Various types of cement can be used (e.g., Portland cement, blended cement, and slag cement). Its content seriously affects the compressive strength and void structure of the layer. The optimum cement content depends on the aggregate size and gradation and it ranges between 260 and 415 kg/m3. The aggregate-to-cement (a/c) ratio ranges between 4:1 and 10:1 as the required compressive strength decreases and the permeability rate increases .
- Water: The water-to-cement ratio (w/c) usually ranges between 0.28 and 0.40 to provide sufficient coating for aggregates. According to Eathakoti et al. , the ideal w/c value for no-fines concrete mixes is 0.45.
- Admixtures: Chemical admixtures are used to obtain or enhance specific properties of the mixture; viscosity modifying, air entraining, retarder, and water reducer agents are the most frequently used. Pigments are added to fresh mixtures to enhance sidewalk integration with most surrounding landscape and architectural elements. Fibers could be added to obtain significant improvement in the compressive strength .
- Returning water to underground aquifers [29,30]: This approach is possible when the natural soil is permeable, and the water does not transport pollutants (e.g., particulates and heavy metals from exhaust fumes, copper from brake pads, tire deposits, drips of oil, grease, antifreeze, hydraulic fluids, and cleaning agents) that could contaminate the hydraulic and marine environment .
- Reducing runoff  and collecting water in retention basins in order to manage suspended solids and pollutants: Due to the potential transport of contaminants, this is the most frequently adopted choice for road surfaces. Along with atmospheric contaminants, high concentrations of harmful pollutants (e.g., hydrocarbons, lead, and copper) can be in water runoff . In the literature [34,35], porous pavements have been investigated as a system for removing urban runoff of both organic and inorganic pollutants (e.g., sediments, heavy metals, nutriments, pathogens). They act as filters that capture most of the polluting elements and treat the water through interception, filtration, sedimentation, nutrient transformation, and microbial removal. SUDSs depend on the porosity and geometry (i.e., modular or monolithic) of the surface layer, the geotechnical characteristics of the bottom layers, and the rainfall intensity; particularly, the intensity of rainfall affects both pollutant loadings and reductions. Therefore, the water quality benefits vary according to the environmental conditions. Some of the most common pollutants are hydrocarbons. They are treated by biodegradation and physical entrapment and stored over the long term; heavy metals are stored inside the structure for the service life of the pavement. Charlesworth et al.  investigated the potential impacts of released contaminants on the environment and human health during maintenance procedures and found that their accumulation does not imply an environmental pollution risk when carrying out pavement maintenance and rehabilitation work. Moreover, the materials could be recycled at end of life.
Conflicts of Interest
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|Property||Asphalt||Gravel||Reinforced Lawn||Porous Concrete|
|Fast to build|
|Fast reopening of traffic|
|Cost of installation|
|Level||Capacity for Drainage (l/m2/min)|
|Designated Use||Extension (m2)||Percentage of Surface (%)|
|Other (e.g., buildings, carriageways, and green areas)||2,471,069||94.3|
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Moretti, L.; Di Mascio, P.; Fusco, C. Porous Concrete for Pedestrian Pavements. Water 2019, 11, 2105. https://doi.org/10.3390/w11102105
Moretti L, Di Mascio P, Fusco C. Porous Concrete for Pedestrian Pavements. Water. 2019; 11(10):2105. https://doi.org/10.3390/w11102105Chicago/Turabian Style
Moretti, Laura, Paola Di Mascio, and Ciro Fusco. 2019. "Porous Concrete for Pedestrian Pavements" Water 11, no. 10: 2105. https://doi.org/10.3390/w11102105