UTA faculty and staff recognized for road innovation

Team successfully used plastic-infused asphalt in two campus parking lots

Thursday, Jun 13, 2024 • Brian Lopez : contact

UTA award winners pose for a photo

A University of Texas at Arlington professor and members of the Parking and Transportation Services (PATS) team have won several awards from the International Parking & Mobility Institute (IPMI) for their work developing “plastic roads,” an innovative and sustainable way to build and repair roads.

Sahadat Hossain, director of Solid Waste Institute for Sustainability and a professor in the Department of Civil Engineering, and PATS won the IPMI Apex Award for Innovation for their pioneering research and application of plastic-infused asphalt, which marked a significant innovation in sustainable infrastructure. This is the second year in a row that this prestigious award has gone to UTA. Last year, PATS won it for work on innovative self-driving shuttles.

“We are taking one problem, which is plastic pollution, and we're using it to fix another problem: deteriorating roads,” Dr. Hossain said. “This is the perfect example of sustainable engineering solutions.”

This plastic-infused asphalt can be found on two parking lots on campus: F10 and Lot 49. The team used four tons of recycled plastics on the areas, enough to fill 15 garbage trucks.

"Through the integration of recycled plastics into our infrastructure, we're not just repairing parking lots; we're laying down a foundation for a more sustainable future,” said Greg Hladik, executive director of Auxiliary Services. “Small changes on our campus are sparking opportunities that have a global ripple effect, helping solve critical sustainability issues while simultaneously enhancing our students' day-to-day experience."

Hladik also received two awards: the IPMI Professional Excellence Award for Innovation and the National Association of College Auxiliary Services’ Lifetime Achievement Award. The University’s Parking and Transportation team was awarded the IPMI Organization of the Year.

IPMI is the world’s largest association of professionals in parking, mobility, and transportation. It works to advance the parking and mobility profession through professional development, certification, research and data collection, advocacy, and community building. With experts worldwide in dozens of specialties, IPMI helps parking, mobility, and transportation function efficiently so people, businesses, and communities can keep moving.

Other awards won include:

  • The Texas Parking and Transportation Association’s (TPTA) Parking Employee of the Year, awarded to Larry Cummings Jr., PATS field operations coordinator, in recognition of his exceptional dedication and service to support innovative department projects.
  • The TPTA Award of Excellence for Parking Structure-Restoration, awarded to Lot 49 and F10 for the first global installation of plastic in parking lots.