Quantifying sustainable strategies for the construction of highway pavements in Illinois

Hasan Ozer, Rebekah Yang, Imad L. Al-Qadi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The environmental and economic burdens of various pavement construction strategies are evaluated in this study. A partial life-cycle approach was used to determine the environmental and economic benefits of asphalt concrete and Portland concrete mix designs as well as pavement-related pay items. Approximately 920 designs were assessed to determine the upstream energy consumption and global warming potential (GWP) of producing these mixes. In general, it was found that transportation hauling distances as well as asphalt binder type and production imposed the greatest variability on the environmental and economic costs of the mixes. In many cases, these variabilities were seen to reduce some of the benefits from using increased recycled content. A similar analysis was performed for pay items where it was found that the contribution of environmental and economic impacts to a project followed a trend with upper pavement layers having the greatest impact, followed by subsequently lower layers, and finally earth exaction and preparation. A cost effectiveness (CE) analysis was then conducted for 18 sustainable strategies, the majority of which had, on average, cost savings as well as environmental savings for both energy and GWP at the mix design level. Overall, this study systematically used common reference units (i.e., mix designs and pay items) from the industry to assess general trends, inconsistencies, and implications from using sustainable strategies in pavement construction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalTransportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Construction
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Energy consumption
  • Greenhouse gases
  • Life-cycle approach
  • Pavement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation
  • Environmental Science(all)


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