New MIT study on targeting maintenance for CO₂ savings confirms importance of pavement stiffness


A recent study by MIT entitled “Carbon management of infrastructure performance: Integrated big data analytics and pavement-vehicle-interactions” shows how data about the influence of pavements on vehicle emissions can be used to guide maintenance plans so that they maximise reductions in CO₂ emissions from vehicles.

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The study provides a methodology to estimate “excess fuel consumption/CO₂ emissions” caused by both roughness and deflection of pavements. An example of the methodology is given for the case of the state of Virginia, US.

The study show that the contribution of deflection of pavements to excess CO₂ emissions from trucks is of a similar order of magnitude as excess CO₂ emissions induced by roughness (for cars and trucks).

The results of such an analysis can be used to make an informed selection of where to prioritise maintenance of roads in order to get the greatest CO₂ reduction. The study shows that this method would result in greater CO₂ savings than selecting road sections for maintenance at random or based on high traffic volume, or even based on IRI (roughness) values.

Concrete pavements offer reduced deflection than asphalt pavements, thus contributing to reduced CO₂ emissions from heavy vehicles, as explained in EUPAVE's brochure.

Upgrading and maintaining Europe's roads is a key way to reduce CO2 emissions from road transport, as outlined in the recent EUPAVE-EAPA-FEHRL paper. This study from MIT now offers a way to target road upgrading for the greatest reduction in CO₂ .


More information on the subject:

Read EUPAVE-EAPA-FEHRL publication on CO2 savings