Environmental analysis of new construction and maintenance processesof road pavements in Switzerland
Journal article, 2012

The subject of this paper is an environmental analysis of processes needed to construct (material production, pavement construction, transport) and maintain (pavement deconstruction, recycling, material production, pavement construction, transport) representative Swiss asphalt, concrete and composite pavements (including subbase layers). The analysed environmental indicators are the IPCC Global Warming Potential indicator, the Ecological Scarcity Indicator and the Non-renewable Cumulative Energy Demand indicator. It is shown that material production processes have the largest impact on the values of the analysed indicators, and that pavement construction and deconstruction processes have a marginal impact on the analysed indicators in comparison to material production, transport and recycling processes. It is also demonstrated that the values of the IPCC Global Warming Potential indicator and the Ecological Scarcity indicator for the processes needed to construct and maintain concrete and composite pavements are higher than those for all processes required to construct and maintain asphalt pavements, due to the greater thickness of concrete and composite pavements. The values of the Non-Renewable Cumulative Energy Demand indicator are higher for processes applied to construct and maintain asphalt pavements than for concrete pavements, due to the use of bitumen within asphalt pavements, which causes a depletion of fossil energy resources.


roads and highways

life cycles

pavement design



Florian Gschösser

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich (ETH)

Holger Wallbaum

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich (ETH)

Bryan T. Adey

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich (ETH)

Structure and Infrastructure Engineering

1573-2479 (ISSN) 1744-8980 (eISSN)

Vol. 10 1 1-24

Subject Categories

Transport Systems and Logistics

Infrastructure Engineering

Environmental Analysis and Construction Information Technology



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