Life cycle assessment of asphalt and cement pavements: Comparative cases in Shanxi Province

Xinxing Zhou, Shanxi Transportation Technology Research & Development Co., Ltd
Xiaorui Zhang, Southeast University
Yuan Zhang, South China University of Technology
Sanjeev Adhikari, Kennesaw State University


In order to understand the energy consumption and environmental pollution level of Shanxi highway construction, the life cycle environmental and energy impact assessment of asphalt mixture and cement concrete were conducted. One representative cement concrete pavement and two asphalt mixtures highways were selected for quantitative evaluation and LCA analysis. The total energy consumption values of Taichang highway are 20 % higher than that of the Dayun highway. The global warming potential indicators of Taichang (asphalt mixture), Dayun (asphalt mixture), and Deda (cement concrete) are 181 kg eq.CO2, 285 kg eq.CO2, and 330 kg eq.CO2, respectively during the materials production stage. The results indicated that the environmental effects of global warming had the biggest impact on the life cycle of the asphalt mixtures and the respective highways. Based on the study results, environmental pollution was highest on the Taichang highway whilst the Deda highway had the highest values of freshwater toxicity. Furthermore, energy consumption during the construction stage and environmental impacts at the end-of-life stage were found to be alarmingly high. Thus, reducing the energy consumption during the material preparation and highway construction stages as well as controlling the environmental pollutants and emissions during service are key to conserving energy, preserving the surrounding environment, and optimizing the life cycle of Shanxi highways.