Changes to pavement could address half a percent of transportation emissions

Hessam AzariJafariJeremy GregoryRandolph Kirchain, Potential Contribution of Deflection-Induced Fuel Consumption to U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions, June 10, 2020 Research Article

Various methods have been proposed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with transportation. We investigate the potential of increasing the elastic modulus of pavement surface layers across the entire U.S. pavement network as a means of lowering vehicle excess fuel consumption (EFC) resulting from deflection-induced pavement–vehicle interaction. We show that in a business-as-usual case deflection-induced EFC represents up to 2660 million metric tons (Mt) over a 50-year analysis period. Elastic modulus increases can be accomplished using several currently implementable methods. The analysis shows that increasing the modulus of elasticity using 10% resurfacing in the network per year leads to an 18% reduction of GHG emissions from the pavement network, or 440 Mt CO2eq, over a 50-year analysis period. This would potentially offset 0.5% of the future GHG emission of the whole transportation sector.