Pavement Environmental Life Cycle Assessment Tool for Local Governments

Research Team: John T. Harvey (lead) and Jon Lea

University: UC Davis

Problem Statement: An increasing number of agencies, companies, organizations, institutes, and governing bodies have increased their efforts to quantify sustainability effects as they pertain to pavements and other transportation infrastructure. Local governments and others considering the environmental life cycle impacts of transportation infrastructure decisions do not have a tool to quantify those impacts. Available tools primarily consist of checklists and scoring systems that do not provide a quantitative assessment for the system considered in the project and its use over the life cycle.

Project Description: Local governments are increasingly being asked to quantify greenhouse gas emissions from their operations and identify changes to reduce emissions. There are many possible strategies that local governments can choose to reduce their emissions, however, prioritization and selection of which to implement can be difficult if emissions cannot be quantified. Pavement life cycle assessment (LCA) can be used by local governments to achieve the same goals as state government. The web-based software environmental Life Cycle Assessment for Pavements (eLCAP) has developed a project-level LCA tool. The goal of eLCAP is to permit local governments to perform project-level pavement LCA using California specific data, including consideration of their own designs, materials, and traffic. eLCAP allows modeling of materials, transport, construction, maintenance, rehabilitation, and end-of-life recycling for all impacts; and in the use stage it considers the effects of combustion of fuel in vehicles as well as the additional fuel consumed due to pavement-vehicle interaction (global warming potential only). This report documents eLCAP and a project that created an interface for eLCAP that is usable by local governments.

Status: Completed

Budget: $26,255

Project Partner(s): California Department of Transportation

Report(s):
Pavement Environmental Life Cycle Assessment Tool for Local Governments