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Civil engineers find savings where the rubber meets the road
Date:5/22/2012

ould also take into account the environmental footprint of pavements based on variations in external conditions," Akbarian says. "We can now include environmental impacts, pavement performance and eventually a cost model to optimize pavement design and obtain the lowest cost and lowest environmental impact with the best structural performance."

The researchers say the initial cost outlay for better pavements would quickly pay for itself not just in fuel efficiency and decreased CO2 emissions, but also in reduced maintenance costs.

"There's a misconception that if you want to go green you have to spend more money, but that's not necessarily true," Akbarian says. "Better pavement design over a lifetime would save much more money in fuel costs than the initial cost of improvements. And the state departments of transportation would save money while reducing their environmental footprint over time, because the roads won't deteriorate as quickly."

This research was conducted as part of the Concrete Sustainability Hub at MIT, which is sponsored by the Portland Cement Association and the Ready Mixed Concrete Research & Education Foundation with the goal of improving the environmental footprint of that industry.

"This work is not about asphalt versus concrete," Ulm says. "The ultimate goal is to make our nation's infrastructure more sustainable. Our model will help make this possible by giving pavement engineers a tool for including sustainability as a design parameter, just like safety, cost and ride quality."


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Contact: Denise Brehm
brehm@mit.edu
617-253-8069
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

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