Life Cycle Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Asphalt Pavement Maintenance: A Case Study in China


Timely maintenance is crucial to ensure the long-term performance of asphalt pavements. Due to the large amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted during construction, it is important to evaluate the environmental impacts of various maintenance technologies, so that the whole life impacts of asphalt pavements can be understood and reduced. This paper estimated the GHG emissions of 16 maintenance technologies in the four categories of surface seal or coating system, thin overlay system, hot recycling system and cold recycling system by using life cycle assessment (LCA), and identified the technologies and the combination of them that have the least GHG emissions. In order to compare the maintenance technologies on a level-playing basis, this study designed maintenance scenarios for the entire life cycle of the pavement, and established a system boundary where all maintenance scenarios are compared transparently for a defined functional unit. Results show that, among the preventive maintenance technologies, micro-surface and fog seal have the lowest GHG emissions. In order to meet the same performance requirements of highway pavement, cold recycling with extra overlay will generate more than twice GHG emissions that of hot recycling. Increasing the frequency of preventive maintenance, and reducing the occurrence of corrective maintenance can reduce GHGs emissions by 30%–45% in pavement life. Reasonably designed maintenance plan for the entire life cycle can significantly reduce the GHG emissions of asphalt pavements.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering


Chang'an University, Grant 300102210526

Keywords and Phrases

Asphalt pavements; Greenhouse gas emission; Life cycle assessment; Pavement maintenance technology; Sustainable construction

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2020 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

15 Mar 2021