The Trustees of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation have granted an additional $2 million to The Ray over the next two years, to fund important research, pilot projects and emerging technologies with the potential to shape the transportation infrastructure of the future.
The Ray C. Anderson Foundation is a private family foundation that honors and shares the values that Ray C. Anderson (1934-2011), Founder and Chairman of Interface Inc., set forth when he put his company on a path to sustainability in 1994.
The Ray was one of the Foundation’s first key funding initiatives, beginning with the 2014 naming of an 18-mile corridor on Interstate-85 in West Georgia as the “Ray C. Anderson Memorial Highway.” In the year that followed, the Foundation created The Ray as an independent nonprofit, empowering it to catalyze the corridor into a global model for regenerative transportation. Between 2015 and 2017, the Foundation granted approximately $2.5 million in funding to pursue this work.
“The Ray began with a single idea from Harriet Langford, Ray’s daughter and Trustee of our Foundation,” says John A. Lanier, Executive Director of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation. “Just as her father did with Interface, Harriet asked, ‘What if we made this sustainable?’ That question was a seed that has grown into so much more, and we are proud to be the lead funders of such a remarkable project.”
“I think of The Ray as an epiphany of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation,” said Harriet Langford, President of The Ray. “It has given me the opportunity to carry on my father's work. We're not putting solar panels on the side of the road and calling it green; we're fundamentally changing our assumptions and expectations of highway infrastructure. Roads can be safe, sustainable, and regenerative. We're proving that and the world is starting to notice.”
The Ray has become a proving ground for the evolving ideas and technologies that will transform transportation infrastructure. Current pilots and demonstrations on The Ray include:
● 7,000 square foot pollinator garden at the Georgia Visitor Information Center as well as on the highway shoulder in conjunction with Troup County High School.
● Installation of the Wattway, the first publicly available, drivable solar road in the world outside of France.
● First U.S. installation of the WheelRight® drive-over tire pressure system with an added tread depth measurement component that is a global first
● Groundbreaking research on the benefits and opportunities of solar noise barriers on highways, in partnership with Innovia Technology, a U.K. based innovation consultancy
● A pilot project with the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) and The Land Institute to study the possibilities of growing perennial wheat on underused land tracts adjacent to highways for erosion mitigation and carbon reduction
● Bioswales with native grasses and pollinators to slow water movements after rainstorms, thereby capturing particulate pollutants, heavy metals, rubber and oil that could negatively impact the water quality in the local watershed
● Coming soon in 2018 - groundbreaking for a right-of-way solar project in partnership with the Georgia Public Service Commission and GDOT. It will be the first time that state-owned and maintained right-of-way will be used for renewable energy generation in Georgia