Pavements Research Briefs

Browse all of our pavements related research briefs below, or explore by topic via the links in the right side bar (on desktop browsers) or at the bottom of this page (on mobile browsers).

Research Brief: Influence of Treatment Types on Performance-based Planning
August 23, 2019

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the backlog of repairs for existing highways is $420 billion. To help state transportation departments manage these backlogs and improve their...

Research Brief: The Role of Pavements in Meeting GHG Reduction Targets
August 23, 2019

Many strategies, including renewable energy production and carbon taxes, have been considered to reach climate targets. However, transportation agencies often overlook how their own pavement...

Topic Summary: Context Dependent Pavement Life Cycle Analysis
July 17, 2019

While it is commonly believed that the environmental footprint of pavements derives only from their construction and materials, a large proportion of that footprint actually comes from their use...

Research Brief: Modeling the Freeze-Thaw Damage Mechanism in Cement
January 30, 2019

In this research brief we propose a new way to understand the cause of freeze-thaw damage in cement. While conventional thinking attributes the damage to pressure generated by expansion of water...

Research Brief: The Influence of Incorporating Uncertainties and Treatment Path Dependence in Performance-based Planning Analyses
November 9, 2018

With low funding and high backlogs for repair, state agencies must effectively allocate budgets for the maintenance, rehabilitation and reconstruction of highways. To assist this mission, CSHub...

Map of the United States with Albedo data overlaid
Research Brief: Climate Change Mitigation Potential of Pavement Albedo
January 16, 2018

Albedo is the measure of how much solar energy is reflected by the Earth’s surface. Low albedo, or darker color, surfaces absorb more heat and reflect less shortwave radiation than high albedo, or...

Research Brief: The influence of analysis period on pavement network performance
November 15, 2017

Existing pavement management systems mainly explain and evaluate current conditions. Performance-based planning combines data about current conditions with models that estimate likely future...

Chart from Research Brief: How to Improve Pavement LCCA, A Case Study
Research Brief: How to Improve Pavement LCCA, A Case Study
June 26, 2017

Life cycle cost analysis (LCCA) frameworks are used by some transportation agencies for economic assessment, but there have been challenges implementing the approach, particularly in the...

Image from Concrete Sustainability Hub research brief, quantifying the impact of pavement reflectivity.
Research Brief: Quantifying the impact of pavement reflectivity
March 13, 2017

The change in radiative energy balance, which is called radiative forcing (RF), reduces nearby air temperatures and impacts the surrounding building energy demand (BED) including heating and...

Chart from Research Brief: Minimizing Thermal Cracking in Concrete Pavements
Research Brief: Minimizing Thermal Cracking in Concrete Pavements
November 30, 2016

Stresses resulting from thermal cycles within concrete pavements can cause expansion, contraction, bending, and flexing that can lead to fracture. This brief examines the risk of fracture of...


Supplementary Information for Comparative Pavement Life Cycle Assessment and Life Cycle Cost Analysis
April 9, 2014

The MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub (CSHub) is conducting life cycle environmental and cost analyses of pavements under a wide range of contexts. The analyses involve the comparison of new asphalt...

Pavement Roughness and Fuel Consumption
August 23, 2013

How does pavement roughness affect a vehicle's fuel consumption? This report explores how roughness is measured, how different pavement materials deteriorate over time in terms of roughness, and...

Materials price forecasting
Back to the Future: Using Historic Prices to Improve Pavement Material Price Projects
August 23, 2013

The future price of infrastructure materials is challenging to predict. This report descibes a method developed by CSHub to predict future prices of concrete and asphalt by using the historic...

PVI deflection
Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Estimating the Impact of Deflection-Induced Pavement-Vehicle Interaction on Fuel Consumption
May 1, 2013

A brief overview of pavement-vehicle interaction and deflection-based modeling geared towards practitioners, policy-makers, and the general public. 

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Model Based Pavement-Vehicle Interaction Simulation for Life Cycle Assessment of Pavements
April 1, 2012

CSHub releases comprehensive research report on the impact of deflection induced PVI for life cycle assessment of pavements. It includes a detailed description of model development and application...

Industry Day 2011: Full Reports
August 11, 2011

Methods, Impacts, and Opportunities in the Concrete

LCA Interim Report
December 1, 2010

Because of the enormous environmental and economic impact of infrastructure in the United States, there is a growing need to better understand the life cycle performance of structures and to...

Concrete Paving Project, Stock Image
Research Summary: Material Price Projections for Pavement Life Cycle Cost Analysis
April 6, 2016

For life cycle cost analyses (LCCAs) to provide the best information possible and lead to better decisions, the cost estimates must reflect, as accurately as possible, the most likely expenditures...

Peer-reviewed publication: Pavement Infrastructures Footprint: The Impact of Pavement Properties on Vehicle Fuel Consumption
March 24, 2014

A novel mechanistic model based on an infinite beam on elastic foundation is developed to quantify the impact of pavement structural and material properties on pavement deflection and consequently...

Peer-reviewed publication: Comparative Pavement Life Cycle Assessment with Parameter Uncertainty
December 1, 2013

We present a comparative life cycle assessment of pavements considering measurement uncertainty and the data-quality uncertainty. We account for the uncertainty due to the prediction of roughness...

Peer-reviewed publication: Flügge’s Conjecture: Dissipation- versus Deflection-Induced Pavement–Vehicle Interactions
November 26, 2013

The dissipation occurring below a moving tire in steady-state conditions in contact with a viscoelastic pavement is expressed using two different reference frames: a fixed observer attached to the...

Peer-reviewed publication: Probabilistic Characterization of Uncertain Inputs in the Life-Cycle Cost Analysis of Pavements
November 8, 2013

Life-cycle cost analysis (LCCA) is an important tool for evaluating the merits of alternative investments. Inevitably, inputs for an LCCA are subject to a high level of uncertainty in both the...

Peer-reviewed publication: Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Opportunities for Concrete Pavements
September 9, 2013

Concrete pavements are a vital part of the transportation infrastructure, comprising nearly 25% of the interstate network in the United States. With transportation authorities and industry...

Peer-reviewed publication: Mechanistic Approach to Pavement-Vehicle Interaction and Its Impact on Life-Cycle Assessment
December 15, 2012

The accuracy and the comprehensiveness of any pavement life-cycle assessment are limited by the ability of the supporting science to quan- tify the environmental impact. Pavement–vehicle...

Peer-reviewed publication: Designing Sustainable Concrete Pavements using the Pavement-ME Mechanistic Empirical Pavement Design and Life Cycle Analysis
October 3, 2012

Increasing the sustainability of our infrastructure is accomplished in ways other than just developing better materials and using recycled materials: it is also about employing the right designs....

Peer-reviewed publication: Sensitivity Analysis of the Life Cycle Environmental Performance of Asphalt and Concrete Pavements
April 13, 2010

The goal of the present Life Cycle Assessment study is to evaluate the environmental impact over the lifetime of one square meter (the functional unit) of the two most common pavement categories:...