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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Pavement Environmental Life Cycle Assessment Tool for Local Governments

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The processes in the pavement life cycle can be defined as: material extraction and production; construction; transport of materials and demolition; the use stage, where the pavement interacts with other systems; the materials, construction, and transport associated with maintenance and rehabilitation; and end-of-life. Local governments are increasingly being asked to quantify greenhouse gas emissions from their operations and identify changes to reduce emissions. There are many possible strategies that local governments can choose to reduce their emissions, however, prioritization and selection of which to implement can be difficult if emissions cannot be quantified. Pavement life cycle assessment (LCA) can be used by local governments to achieve the same goals as state government. The web-based software environmental Life Cycle Assessment for Pavements, also known as eLCAP has been developed a project-level LCA tool. The goal of eLCAP is to permit local governments to perform project-level pavement LCA using California specific data, including consideration of their own designs, materials, and traffic. eLCAP allows modeling of materials, transport, construction, maintenance, rehabilitation, and end-of-life recycling for all impacts; and in the use stage it considers the effects of combustion of fuel in vehicles as well as the additional fuel consumed due to pavement-vehicle interaction (global warming potential only). This report documents eLCAP and a project that created an interface for eLCAP that is usable by local governments.

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