Industry Leaders Advise the Ray Ways to Net Zero + Slope Stabilized with Terraseeding

The Ray announced today the names of the industry leaders who have joined its newly created Advisory Council. The Advisory Council will provide a collaborative space for discussing and executing strategies, solutions and partnerships that will help The Ray and its agency partners to achieve net-zero transportation.

The Council’s diverse membership has committed personal time, professional resources and a global network to leverage The Ray as a convener and a conduit of real-world innovations throughout the United States. As leaders in the private sector, members will enhance the organization’s public-private-philanthropic partnership (P4) model by facilitating private investment in, and channeling expertise towards, public projects, and will guide The Ray’s national efforts to conceptualize, plan and scale net-zero transportation infrastructure.

The Advisory Council to The Ray includes:

Christopher Armstrong: Vice President, CIRRUS/V2X; Panasonic

David Aspinwall: President; Heliox

Mackenzie Baines: Mobility Product Director; Cox Automotive

Terry Bills: Global Transportation Industry Director; Esri

Mike Branch: Vice President, Data and Analytics; Geotab

Dan Chen: President, Transportation Safety Division; 3M

Stephen Chriss: Director, Energy Service; Walmart

Tim Donovan: Founder and Partner; Donovan Energy

Rick Douglas: Senior Manager/Head of Department Team/Public Relations; Kia Georgia

Kitty Dumas: Manager; Ryder Charitable Foundation

Dewey Grantham: Regional Vice President; Liberty Tire Recycling

Richard “Dick” Gust: CEO; Tire Industry Foundation

Chris Kelly: Co-Founder and CEO; Clearion

David Kiley: Senior Vice President of Business Development and Acquisitions; Cavnue

Maureen Kline: Vice President, Public Affairs & Sustainability; Pirelli Tire North America

Pierre Labat: Senior Vice President, Chief Strategy and Sustainability Officer; Novelis

Kaitlin Monaghan: Manager of Public Policy; Rivian

Bo Quick: Sr. Director, Sustainability and Environmental Partnerships; Southwire

The Advisory Council will continue to add members as The Ray expands the technology and innovation ecosystem on The Ray Highway, and exports projects to agency partners in 25 states and growing. In 2014, The Ray first defined net-zero highways as highways with zero carbon, zero waste and zero deaths. One year later, it constructed its first project in partnership with the Georgia Department of Transportation on an 18-mile stretch of the Interstate 85 corridor in West Georgia that is now known as the Ray C. Anderson Memorial Highway. Today, The Ray Highway is the nation’s premier test bed for safe, smart and sustainable transportation.

Members of the Council commit to the following volunteer responsibilities:

  • Quarterly convening
  • Identifying potential corporate and private interests that could support solutions and projects with The Ray
  • Connecting The Ray, when appropriate, to leadership and projects that could benefit from the unique position that The Ray holds in P4 project development
  • Supporting the organization as a champion for The Ray’s work

The Advisory Council will also receive updates from The Ray on an ambitious fundraising campaign to advance the organization’s five-year strategic plan and 2025 technology plan goals. The Ray is raising capital from public, philanthropic and private funders, including corporations and investors focused on building and scaling innovative and sustainable transportation and mobility projects.

The Landscape Lab research team at The Ray announced the completed installation of a slope stabilization research project at Exit 14 on I-85. This project is the latest phase of research that is investigating new and more sustainable approaches to the design and maintenance of the highway right-of-way (ROW) in Georgia.

This project is a collaboration between The Ray, GDOT (Georgia DOT) and the UGA College of Environment and Design (UGA CED). The team also collaborated with Josh Weaver, Ph.D. and CPH, a lecturer/researcher in the Dept. of Horticulture at Auburn University, whose research focuses on biostimulants.

The slope research site at Exit 14 is approximately 19,600 square feet (0.45 acres) in size and is located at the corner of the exit ramp and US Route 27 near Troup County High School. The site is divided into five test areas where two different seed mixes, a new installation method known as Terraseeding®, and soil amendments are all being investigated. The research team is eager to study the effects of each of these mixes and methods on both seed mix establishment and health.

The seed mixtures feature native perennial grasses and flowers that do not need to be mowed on a frequent basis. Current roadside mixes utilize non-native turf grasses and are mowed at least four times per year. The mixes used in these tests utilize native species and only require one annual mowing to prevent tree saplings from being established.

Terraseeding® involves applying a 3-inch compost blanket to the previously cleared and graded slope without the use of heavy equipment on the site. The material is spread by blowing the seed mixture to desired areas through a series of hoses from a truck.

“We are excited to use Terraseeding at the Landscape Lab. This installation method is very scalable because it simplifies and speeds up the process of planting on slopes,” says Matthew Quirey, Landscape Lab and Research Fellow at The Ray.

Finally, the research is exploring the use of biochar and humic acid as soil amendments. These added materials have the potential to greatly improve the soil quality and growth of the seed mixes. Side-by-side comparisons will show which amendments work best and will inform future phases of the research.

“GDOT crews and equipment were the means by which the slope grading was accomplished,” according to District 3 Engineer, Tyler Peek. “Once again, GDOT staff show their skills in accomplishing this work, showing our continued collaboration with The Ray.”

“The state and southeast region need more tools in the toolkit for solving erosion problems on roadsides, and we now understand the important role our everyday landscapes play in providing pollinator habitat and contribution to the entire food chain,” says UGA Associate Professor, Brad Davis. “In short, the way we plant and manage our roadsides has a considerable impact on the environment. Experimentation with plant species and installation methods is helping to create more solutions using native species.”

Monitoring of the project site will take place over the next two growing seasons (2022 and 2023).

About The Ray

The Ray is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity and net-zero highway testbed, located on 18 miles of Interstate 85 between Lagrange, Georgia and the Georgia-Alabama state line. This stretch of interstate is named in memory of Ray C. Anderson (1934-2011), a Georgia native recognized as a leader in green business when he challenged his company, Interface, Inc., to pursue a zero environmental footprint. The Ray Highway testbed is paving the way for a zero carbon, zero waste, zero deaths highway system that will build a safer and more prosperous future for all. Learn more at www.TheRay.org.

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