Environment & Sustainability

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) recognizes, enhances and encourages green and sustainable programs in all facets of the transportation industry. IDOT’s mission is to provide safe, cost-effective transportation for Illinois in ways that enhance quality of life, promote economic prosperity, and demonstrate respect for our environment. IDOT understands that sustainability requires balancing overall societal benefits while considering what is economically sound and environmentally compatible.


The IDOT Highway Sign Shop in Springfield recycles 45,000 to 50,000 highway signs annually with the help of a four-jet Hydro-Stripper developed by Hydro Solutions, Inc. The signs make it back on the road shortly after they are reclaimed. The process conserves 427,500 pounds of aluminum every year, saving the state approximately $600,000. The environmental benefits of this effort include reducing waste, conserving water and preventing pollution by eliminating the need to produce new materials. The water in the hydro-stripping process is filtered and continuously reused, saving 190,000 gallons of water each year.

To help revive the shrinking populations of the monarch butterfly and other pollinators, the Illinois Department of Transportation is adjusting its mowing routine along state highways this spring and summer. The approach, part of IDOT’s overall effort to encourage green and sustainable practices in all its programs and projects, will help to re-establish types of plants that are food sources for bees, butterflies and other insects that are native to Illinois. Visit our Monarch Butterfly page to see the latest updates!

  • IDOT is committed to incorporating green solutions for Illinois' multi-modal transportation system, utilizing Context Sensitive Solutions, and sustainable design and construction techniques, including recyclable and environmentally friendly materials when possible.
  • In 2013, IDOT logged more than 12,300 miles on three all electric vehicles, spearheaded Curb Your Car Week and International Walk to School Day, distributed 10,000 trees to schools throughout the state and formed the IDOT Sustainability Committee to gather additional input from all facets of IDOT.
  • IDOT developed the state's first Bike Transportation Plan that will include bicycle-friendly recommendations around planning, policy, safety, design and maintenance, performance measures, outreach and more.
  • IDOT worked with the University of Illinois to implement a switchgrass initiative that utilizes IDOT's right-of-ways as pilot plots for this emerging bio-fuel plant. A test plot was planted on the edge of Rantoul in Champaign County in 2013 with more to come.
  • IDOT has implemented green solutions into its own operations. This includes use of hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles, car sharing, recycling (involving aluminum signs, oil, antifreeze, paper, and toner cartridges).
  • IDOT also looks to the future by exploring the use of electric vehicles, very high speed intercity passenger rail, best environmental management practices, wind turbines to provide energy at rest stops, and the use of solar energy to power IDOT facilities.