Economically and environmentally informed policy for road resurfacing

Tradeoffs between costs and greenhouse gas emissions

Darren Reger, Samer Madanat, Arpad Horvath

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    As road conditions worsen, users experience an increase in fuel consumption and vehicle wear and tear. This increases the costs incurred by the drivers, and also increases the amount of greenhouse gases (GHGs) that vehicles emit. Pavement condition can be improved through rehabilitation activities (resurfacing) to reduce the effects on users, but these activities also have significant cost and GHG emission impacts. The objective of pavement management is to minimize total societal (user and agency) costs. However, the environmental impacts associated with the cost-minimizing policy are not currently accounted for. We show that there exists a range of potentially optimal decisions, known as the Pareto frontier, in which it is not possible to decrease total emissions without increasing total costs and vice versa. This research explores these tradeoffs for a system of pavement segments. For a case study, a network was created from a subset of California's highways using available traffic data. It was shown that the current resurfacing strategy used by the state's transportation agency, Caltrans, does not fall on the Pareto frontier, meaning that significant savings in both total costs and total emissions can be achieved by switching to one of the optimal policies. The methods presented in this paper also allow the decision maker to evaluate the impact of other policies, such as reduced vehicle kilometers traveled or better construction standards.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number104020
    JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
    Volume9
    Issue number10
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Oct 1 2014

    Fingerprint

    Gas emissions
    Greenhouse gases
    greenhouse gas
    Gases
    road
    Costs and Cost Analysis
    pavement
    cost
    Pavements
    Costs
    fuel consumption
    Tears
    Fuel consumption
    Patient rehabilitation
    Environmental impact
    policy
    savings
    environmental impact
    Thermodynamic properties
    Rehabilitation

    Keywords

    • asphalt
    • GHG emissions
    • LCCA
    • optimization
    • Pareto
    • pavement
    • transportation

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Environmental Science(all)
    • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

    Cite this

    Economically and environmentally informed policy for road resurfacing : Tradeoffs between costs and greenhouse gas emissions. / Reger, Darren; Madanat, Samer; Horvath, Arpad.

    In: Environmental Research Letters, Vol. 9, No. 10, 104020, 01.10.2014.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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