Comparison of life-cycle assessment tools for road pavement infrastructure

João Miguel Oliveira Dos Santos, Senthilmurugan Thyagarajan*, Elisabeth Keijzer, Rocío Fernández Flores, Gerardo Flintsch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
53 Downloads (Pure)


Road pavements have considerable environmental burdens associated with their initial construction, maintenance, and usage, which have led the pavement stakeholder community to join efforts to understand and mitigate these negative effects better. Life-cycle assessment (LCA) is a versatile methodology for quantifying the effect of decisions regarding the selection of resources and processes. However, there is a considerable variety of tools for conducting pavement LCA. This paper provides the pavement stakeholder community with insights into the potential differences in the life-cycle impact assessment results of a pavement by applying American and European LCA tools, namely, PaLATE Version 2.2, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute–University of California asphalt pavement LCA model, GaBi, DuboCalc, and ECORCE-M, to a Spanish pavement reconstruction project. Construction and maintenance life-cycle stages were considered in the comparison. On the basis of the impact assessment methods adopted by the various tools, the following indicators and impact categories were analyzed: energy consumption, climate change, acidification, eutrophication, and photochemical ozone creation. The results of the case study showed the need to develop (a) a standardized framework for performing a road pavement LCA that can be adapted to various tools and (b) local databases of materials and processes that follow national and international standards.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-38
Number of pages11
JournalTransportation research record
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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