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Sustainable Pavements – Making the Case for Longer Design Lives for Flexible Pavements


Over one quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions are caused by transportation and especially road transportation. It is critical for the road construction industry to become part of the solution by proactively implementing technology and construction practices that assist in achieving these challenging emission reduction goals. In addition to improved asphalt technology, better construction and rehabilitation methods, and optimized pavement selection based on life-cycle cost analysis, more attention needs to be focused on pavement sustainability. This concept can be defined as a safe, efficient and environmentally friendly pavement that meets the needs of present-day users without compromising those of future generations. This paper will consider some aspects of perpetual pavement sustainability based on a practical application of the concept on the Red Hill Valley Parkway project in the City of Hamilton, Ontario. Essentially by designing and building low maintenance highways that have extended serviceable lives, there are environmental benefits in terms of reduced impact on the environment and reduced cumulative greenhouse gas emissions. The assessment of the overall impacts of construction on the environment during road building and maintenance operations used in this paper are based on European experience, particularly in France. In addition, the Pavement Life-cycle Assessment Tool for Environmental and Economic Effects (PaLATE) computer program developed at the University of California, Berkeley was used to calculate the energy consumption and gas emission during initial construction and the pavement maintenance and rehabilitation. The analysis shows that besides the lower life-cycle cost of the perpetual pavement alternative, the environmental impact of this type of pavement is significantly lower than that of the conventional deep strength pavement.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Ludomir Uzarowski
Gary Moore