Life cycle assessment of roads and pavements: studies made in Europe

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Annelie Carlson

This is a report in sub-project 3 (SP3) in MIRIAM (Models for rolling resistance In Road Infrastructure Asset Management systems). The main aim in MIRIAM is to provide sustainable and environmentally friendly road infrastructure by reducing rolling resistance. In SP3 the importance of rolling resistance regarding energy use is studied as well as if maintenance measures can be viable options to reduce total energy use.

In this publication there is a compilation and short description of a number of scientific studies made in Europe that use the life cycle assessment methodology to study roads and pavements. One conclusion is that the results of these studies are not directly comparable since the underlying prerequisites differ considerably. A common understanding in the studies is that all roads are unique and have their own specific conditions, which means that a flexible method is needed that can be adjusted to suite the road you want to study. Also, it is concluded that the energy used for construction, operation and maintenance of the road infrastructure only amounts to a small part of the energy use due to traffic.

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