Reflective Parking Lots for Microscale Urban Heat Island Mitigation

Sushobhan Sen, Juan Pablo Ricardo Mendèz Ruiz Fernandèz, Jeffery Roesler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Paved surfaces, especially parking lots, occupy a significant proportion of the horizontal surface area in cities. The low albedo of many of these parking lots contribute to the urban heat island (UHI) and affect the local microclimate around them. The albedo of six parking lots in Champaign-Urbana, U.S., was measured using a ground-based albedometer and was found to vary between 0.18 and 0.28, with a statistically significant variation in albedo at different points within each parking lot. The numerical model ENVI-met was then employed to model the microclimate around one of these lots to examine the potential of increasing its albedo to mitigate UHI. The higher albedo decreased the air temperature over the parking lot by about 1°C. Furthermore, the Universal Thermal Climate Index (UTCI), which combines the effects of air temperature, reflected radiation, wind speed, clothing, metabolism, and humidity, demonstrated that increasing the albedo of the parking lot could improve overall pedestrian thermal comfort and even eliminate it during several hours of the day, and thus mitigate the UHI effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)663-671
Number of pages9
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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