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Contents 1 SUMMARY 4 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION Background, 4 Synthesis Objectives, 5 Synthesis Scope, 5 Report Organization, 5 6 CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW Existing Practices, 6 Visible Litter Studies, 8 Behaviors and Attitudes, 9 Evaluations of Strategies and Measures for Litter Prevention, 10 16 CHAPTER THREE SURVEY RESULTS Survey Procedures, 16 Survey Responses, 16 30 CHAPTER Four CASE STUDIES Case Study Criteria and Development, 30 Case Study 1: Florida, 30 Case Study 2: Georgia, 32 Case Study 3: Texas, 33 Case Study 4: Washington State, 35 Summary of Lessons Learned, 37 38 CHAPTER Five CONCLUSIONS 41 REFERENCES 44 APPENDIX A SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE 56 APPENDIX B SURVEY RESPONSES

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REDUCING LITTER ON ROADSIDES SUMMARY The term "litter" is generally defined as misplaced solid waste, although different jurisdic- tions have their own definitions. Regardless of the definition used, litter has been a persis- tent problem in the United States since at least 1953 when Keep America Beautiful (KAB), a nationwide nonprofit organization, was formed with a mandate of litter prevention. As the number of vehicle-miles of travel increases, so too does the potential for roadside litter. At present, roadside litter appears to be omnipresent. The impacts of roadside litter and litter collection are staggering. The estimated cost of collecting roadside litter exceeds $130 million per year by state highways alone, and approaches $500 million by all levels of government. These figures are fairly dated at this time, as evidenced by the Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT), which reported $14 million spent on litter collection in 2006, and a trend of increasing costs at a rate of 20% per year. A recent survey in Utah determined that 8% of drivers have been involved in a collision caused by road debris, and 47% of drivers have had their vehicles damaged by road debris. In 2003, Forbes 2003 in "The Safety Impacts of Vehicle-related Road Debris," estimated that vehicle-related road debris (i.e., litter on the road) is conservatively responsible for 80 to 90 fatalities and 25,000 crashes on North American roads each year. Australian data from 20052006 (Fire & Emergency Services Authority of Western Australia) indicated that 540 bush fires were caused by discarded cigarettes. Furthermore, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Great Britain dealt with 11,589 litter-related inci- dents in 2006. An Iowa survey of Adopt-A-Highway (AAH) volunteers and DOT mainte- nance garage employees noted 26 reports of injuries caused by debris/features (vegetation, uneven ground, etc.) along the roadside. An emergent roadside litter concern is the toxic litter from clandestine and portable crystal methamphetamine laboratories. The materials from these facilities frequently are discarded along the roadside, and the extremely toxic materials are a threat to the environment, and a hazard for maintenance personnel and volunteers. Roadside litter affects on loss of tourism and increased vehicleanimal crashes resulting from animals attracted to discarded food along the roadside are possible but have not been studied. In some states (e.g., Texas, Tennessee, and Mississippi), DOT staff have developed a multitude of enforcement, public education, and awareness strategies to address the grow- ing concern with litter. In other states (e.g., Georgia and Washington), state departments other than the DOT spearhead roadside litter prevention programs, considering roadside litter as a subset of all litter. In either case, these programs are costly and often divert funding from other DOT programs for congestion mitigation, roadway maintenance and preservation, and road safety. Although it is clear that North America has a roadside litter problem, and that DOTs have developed programs to address the problem, it is unclear what programs are in effect, what organizational structures work, what resources are required, and which programs are producing results. The lack of program evaluations in particular is troublesome because

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2 this has resulted in undocumented program successes and limitations. As a result, despite the commitment demonstrated by most DOTs and community members to develop solutions, the approach to roadside litter prevention has been piecemeal. This synthesis is a state-of-the-practice report on reducing litter along roadsides as it involves state DOTs. The report provides information for state DOTs on the state of the practice concerning the prevention and removal of roadside litter, and identifies unfulfilled needs, knowledge gaps, and underperforming activities. The scope of this research was lim- ited specifically to roadside litter, and therefore focused primarily on DOTs and their con- tractors who conduct litter prevention and removal programs. It does not include the broader topic of litter prevention in all public spaces and waterways. The research was concerned with enforcement, education, awareness, and engineering methods for both litter prevention and litter collection. A 46-question survey was distributed to United States and Canadian maintenance per- sonnel. Questions included were related to litter prevention and abatement measures, lit- ter collection methods, program evaluation and performance measures, legislation and enforcement, and promotional material for litter prevention efforts. A literature search was also undertaken. Together, the North American survey and the literature review provide a comprehensive snapshot of the state-of-the-practice in roadside litter abatement. From this snapshot, trends and patterns concerning successful practices and knowledge gaps could be identified for practitioners. The literature is replete with research on the effects of messaging, trash can design and placement, and penalties leading to litter reduction. The majority of these studies, however, are not measures of success as they apply to roadside litter. Programs such as AAH and activities such as conducting litter collection before roadside mowing have been studied and found effective. Other measures such as container deposit laws and establishing local KAB affiliates have documented successes, but they are generally outside of the mandate of the DOT. Research purports that advertising and education materials reflect a social norm that littering is not commonplace (i.e., visual messages would show a clean environment as opposed to a littered environment). The survey was circulated to all 50 states and Puerto Rico, as well as to the 10 provinces and three territories in Canada. Each nonresponding jurisdiction was sent a reminder note 2 days before the specified deadline for responses. Subsequent to the deadline for submis- sions, all nonresponding jurisdictions were contacted by telephone in an effort to obtain a survey response. Although participants were initially given a specified period to respond, deadline extensions were permitted to increase the response rate. The response rate from the American jurisdictions was 63%. The survey of state DOTs reveals that the cost of roadside litter collection and disposal is about $430 to $505 per centerline-mile. Additionally, the selection of education and encour- agement strategies for roadside litter prevention share no cross-jurisdictional commonality. However, enforcement and litter collection trends are apparent, with monetary fines and community service being levied as typical penalties; AAH, prison work crews, and com- munity service are typical collection methods. The case studies clearly support the need for a multistakeholder approach that uses solid data to select and implement multiple, targeted antilitter strategies. Advertising campaigns (for education and encouragement) might benefit from being comparable to traditional private sector commercial advertising, with slogans and other advertising materials that deliver a straightforward, unapologetic message concerning the unacceptability of roadside littering.

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3 Research that demonstrates a drop in overall litter rates over time may be an indication that litter prevention programs in the United States are working. Furthermore, a shift from intentional to accidental litter is significant and is a strong indicator that campaign efforts might now be better directed toward accidental litter prevention efforts. The national effort to address the roadside litter problem is at present largely fragmented and underresearched. Synergy that could be created by better coordination of roadside litter prevention efforts is lacking. One of the primary obstacles in developing effective litter prevention campaigns, and in attracting funding for these programs reported in sur- vey responses, is the lack of reliable data on the roadside litter problem. Evaluations are produced by only a few roadside litter prevention programs, and typically they use the frequency or density of visible roadside litter as the sole measure of success. Other per- formance measures could be considered, such as injuries to workers and volunteers, motor vehicle crashes, roadside fires, and so on, were reported lacking as well. The costs and impacts of roadside litter might be better documented and widely pub- licized. The cost of roadside litter and litter collection in the United States is staggering and likely would be surprising to the general public and decision makers. Publicizing the impacts of roadside litter likely would bring greater resources to bear on the roadside litter problem.