Presently, there is strong consensus that significant temperature and weather changes are fast approaching as a result of climate change. Pavements will be significantly affected by increased temperatures, precipitation, and flooding, and will require present design methodology to be modified accordingly. Several climate change adaptation strategies are easily available to agencies including upgraded asphalt binder grades, increased Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) thickness, modified mix gradations, and stabilized base. The objective of this study is to investigate Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) for climate change adaptation strategies across various locations in Canada, from a Global Warming Potential (GWP) perspective. All analysis was completed leveraging the Athena Pavement LCA software and the LTPP database. The investigated scenarios were (i) a baseline asphalt pavement with no climate change, (ii) a baseline asphalt pavement with climate change, and (iii) an asphalt pavement adapted to withstand climate change, appropriate to the level of changes experienced by the specific location. The study revealed that although there are initial increases in both cost and emission to administer these adaptation strategies, they are offset over the life of the pavements. Increasing the HMA thickness and using stabilized bases were the most expensive and the highest emitting among the investigated strategies, but they are only necessary for extreme coastal climate change regions including British Columbia and Newfoundland. British Columbia is expected to observe a near 30% increase in agency costs to effectively adapt their pavements to climate change. However, these initiatives were found to decrease the overall global warming potential by nearly 10% in comparison to not adapting. The other examined locations, although not returning as drastic of changes, followed similar trends. The conclusions find that climate change adaptation strategies are highly beneficial from the standpoint of both an LCA and LCCA for all of the investigated locations.

Authors: Swarna S T, Hossain K, Bernier A.

Link(s) for the Paper: Journal Website | ResearchGate