All approaches to reducing carbon dioxide emissions are welcome, and one of them might be to reduce the rolling resistance of the pavement. Different pavements offer different levels of resistance, which means that they can affect vehicle fuel consumption.
One approach is to reduce the macrostructure, i.e., the surface abrasion, producing a smoother roadway.
Annelie Carlson has worked with Robert Karlsson and Olle Eriksson of the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI) in a study to create support for strategic decision-making when choosing pavements. This support pertains both to the investments at the time paving is done and to future maintenance measures.
The study consists of several parts, the first of which addressed energy use in connection with new road construction and vehicle fuel consumption. The roads studied were E20 and national highway 27 in Western Sweden, the former having good pavement and the latter poorer pavement requiring repeated maintenance. The results indicated that it may be better to opt for a more energy-intensive maintenance method if it will lead to lower rolling resistance and, in turn, lower vehicle fuel consumption.
The second part of the study addressed the costs of maintenance as well. The emphasis in this sub-study was on finding a criterion for determining whether to choose energy-efficient or cost-effective maintenance.
“All in all, it is more energy-efficient to choose a more energy-intensive maintenance method if it leads to lower vehicle energy consumption”, says Carlson.
Annelie Carlson, Researcher
This article is a report from the VTI conference Transportforum 2016. You find more information about the conference here (in Swedish).