Rolling resistance contribution to a road pavement life cycle carbon footprint analysis

Trupia, Laura, Parry, Tony, Neves, Luís C. and Lo Presti, Davide (2017) Rolling resistance contribution to a road pavement life cycle carbon footprint analysis. International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 22 (6). pp. 972-985. ISSN 1614-7502

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Although the impact of road pavement surface condition on rolling resistance has been included in the life cycle assessment (LCA) framework of several studies in the last years, there is still a high level of uncertainty concerning the methodological assumptions and the parameters that can affect the results. In order to adopt pavement carbon footprint/LCA as a decision-making tool, it is necessary to explore the impact of the chosen methods and assumptions on the LCA results.


This paper provides a review of the main models describing the impact of the pavement surface properties on vehicle fuel consumption and analyses the influence of the methodological assumptions related to the rolling resistance on the LCA results. It compares the CO2 emissions, calculated with two different rolling resistance models existing in literature, and performs a sensitivity test on some specific input variables (pavement deterioration rate, traffic growth, and emission factors/fuel efficiency improvement).

Results and discussion

The model used to calculate the impact of the pavement surface condition on fuel consumption significantly affects the LCA results. The pavement deterioration rate influences the calculation in both models, while traffic growth and fuel efficiency improvement have a limited impact on the vehicle CO2 emissions resulting from the pavement condition contribution to rolling resistance.

Conclusions and recommendations

Existing models linking pavement condition to rolling resistance and hence vehicle emissions are not broadly applicable to the use phase of road pavement LCA and further research is necessary before a widely-used methodology can be defined. The methods of modelling and the methodological assumptions need to be transparent in the analysis of the impact of the pavement surface condition on fuel consumption, in order to be interpreted by decision makers and implemented in an LCA framework. This will be necessary before product category rules (PCR) for pavement LCA can be extended to include the use phase.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Carbon footprint; greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; LCA; rolling resistance; pavement surface properties
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Engineering
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Blay, James
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2016 13:20
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 18:53

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