Comparison of Cost, Safety, and Environmental Benefits of Routine Mowing and Managed Succession of Roadside Vegetation

The NCHRP 14-40 project provides guidance for roadside vegetation management to identify the cost, safety, and environmental impacts of routine mowing compared with managed succession of vegetation for areas outside the safety clear zone. Departments of Transportation (DOTs) are re-evaluating their roadside management practices regarding costs and environmental concerns
versus benefits. The ecosystem services provided by minimizing roadside vegetation maintenance practices can include ecosystem diversity, stormwater quantity and quality management, carbon sequestration, conservation and/or restoration of pollinator and/or wildlife habitat, and aesthetics. A key safety benefit comes from reducing maintenance personnel exposure to traffic hazards, equipment, and chemical treatments. This provides both short-term and long-term cost savings and benefits. Overall, managing the roadside as a valued transportation asset consists of taking advantage of the natural ecosystem services that modified
mowing regimes and/or managed succession can provide to see the return in cost/benefit.

View this resource