Hajj 2024 Sites Painted With Road Cooling Initiative

An area of 25,000 square meters around Namirah Mosque is being covered with a cool pavement material that absorbs less solar radiation compared to regular materials.
Road Cooling Initiative 3
Photo: RGA Saudi

The Saudi Roads General Authority has announced the expansion of their asphalt surface cooling initiative at several locations within the Holy Sites of Mina, Arafat, and Muzdalifah. They’ve rolled out this project over 25,000 square meters next to Namira Mosque in Arafat.

The initiative is being carried out in partnership with several key organizations, including the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, the Pilgrim Experience Program, the Quality of Life Program, and the Holy Capital Municipality.

Road Cooling Initiative 2
Photo: RGA Saudi

The goal is to reduce temperatures in neighborhoods and residential areas, cut down on the energy needed to cool buildings and help combat the effects of climate change. This new technology aims to create a more comfortable environment in waiting areas and spots where people gather, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

The whole idea behind this initiative, first tried out last year at the Holy Sites, is based on the fact that roads soak up heat during the day, sometimes hitting temperatures as high as 70 degrees Celsius. At night, these roads release the heat, causing the “Urban heat island effect.” This effect makes energy consumption go up and increases air pollution.

To tackle this, they decided to experiment with “cool pavements.” These pavements are made from locally sourced materials that reflect solar radiation instead of absorbing it. As a result, the surface temperature is lower than with regular pavements, making them a good option for roads in residential areas.

Road Cooling Initiative 1
Photo: RGA Saudi

The Roads General Authority conducts research and practical experiments as part of its duties as a government supervisory and regulatory body for the road sector in the Kingdom. These efforts are in line with the sector’s strategic vision to encourage innovation.

The road sector’s strategy also aims to enhance the quality of roads, aiming to achieve the sixth global ranking and reduce fatalities to fewer than five per 100,000 people by 2030. This approach enables the road sector to maintain its leading role in supporting many crucial and emerging sectors through the Kingdom’s road network. This network is the most interconnected globally, covering over 73,000 kilometers.

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