Life-cycle assessment of pavements. Part I: Critical review

Nicholas J. Santero, Eric Masanet, Arpad Horvath

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

214 Scopus citations


The rapidly expanding set of pavement life-cycle assessments (LCAs) available in the literature represents the growing interest in improving the sustainability of this critical infrastructure system. The existing literature establishes a foundational framework for quantifying environmental impact, but fails to deliver global conclusions regarding materials choices, maintenance strategies, design lives, and other best-practice policies for achieving sustainability goals. In order to comprehensively quantify environmental footprints and effectively guide sustainability efforts, functional units need to be standardized, systems boundaries expanded, data quality and reliability improved, and study scopes broadened. Improving these deficiencies will allow future studies to perform equitable and comparable assessments, thus creating a synergistic set of literature that continuously builds upon itself rather than generates independent and isolated conclusions. These improvements will place the body of pavement LCA research in a better position to confidently lead private industry and government agencies on successful paths towards sustainability goals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)801-809
Number of pages9
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Issue number9-10
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Asphalt
  • Climate Change
  • Concrete
  • Energy
  • Life-cycle assessment (LCA)
  • Pavements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Economics and Econometrics

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