News Brief

Porous Pavements

by Bruce Ferguson. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, 2005. Hardcover, 600 pages, $159.95.

Porous Pavements is the first comprehensive reference on porous pavement theory, design, materials, and applications. Written by one of the nation’s leading experts on stormwater and stormwater infiltration, the book provides a one-stop source for information on all aspects of porous pavement practice. (For more on porous pavements as a component of green development, see


Vol. 13, No. 9.)

In making the case for porous pavement, Bruce Ferguson provides compelling statistics on the severity of the problem of impervious surface in urban areas. In typical commercial development, for example, the overall impervious area averages 85%, with two-thirds of that from pavement and one-third from roofs. Porous pavement, where it can be implemented, provides such benefits as cleaner surface water (by allowing stormwater to be treated where it infiltrates the ground instead of carrying pollutants into surface waters), cooler cities, quieter cities, safer driving, and better tree survival rates.

Porous Pavements clearly articulates these benefits and others.

Ferguson goes into significant detail on the civil engineering issues of porous pavement: load-bearing needs of the substrate, compaction, freezing-thaw cycling, pavement edge issues, and stormwater hydrology. The chapter on hydrology includes discussion of surface runoff, reservoir capacity in porous pavement, infiltration into subgrade, and the removal of stormwater pollutants through infiltration.

Much of the rest of the book reviews the major types of porous pavement. Ferguson divides these into nine categories: porous aggregate, porous turf, plastic geocells, open-jointed paving blocks, open-cell paving grids, porous concrete, porous asphalt, soft porous surfacing (bark mulch and coconut fiber, for example), and decks (which can be considered a sort of porous surface). In sections where proprietary products are used (plastic geocells and open-jointed paving blocks, for example), the book provides manufacturer website addresses.

Porous Pavements includes more than 300 diagrams and over 130 black-and-white photographs. It provides real-world examples of the many hundreds of porous pavement installations that Ferguson visited while researching this book. Though expensive, the book is well worth the investment for anyone involved with implementing porous pavement systems.

Published August 1, 2005

Wilson, A. (2005, August 1). Porous Pavements. Retrieved from

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