Impacts of future climate change on flexible road pavement economics: A life cycle costs analysis of 24 case studies across the United States

Date

2022

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Abstract

Highway agencies are facing pressure for repairing and replacing underfunded and aged road pavement networks that were initially designed for historical climatic conditions. Road pavements must be updated while accounting for the impacts of climate change, which are likely to be exacerbated in the years to come, and with limited budgets. Methodologies and frameworks that help agencies incorporate the long-term effects of climate change on pavement performance and make informed decisions on how to spend their limited funds are therefore of utmost importance. This paper presents a methodological framework that combines downscaled climate projections, pavement performance predictions using the AASHTOWare Pavement ME DesignTM tool, maintenance and rehabilitation strategies, and life cycle costs analysis (LCCA) in a comprehensive system. The proposed methodological framework was adopted in the LCCA of 24 case studies across the contiguous United States under four alternative periods corresponding to simulated climate projections for four 20-year periods (1981-2000, 2001-2020, 2041-2060, and 2081-2100) with a higher Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP8.5). The case study results show that climate change per degree Celsius will lead to approximately $650-700 million/year additional agency costs in the U.S. In addition, climate change will have greater impacts on the costs incurred during the maintenance and end-of-life phases.

Description

© 2022 The Author(s) cc-by-nc-nd

Keywords

Climate change, life cycle costs, life cycle pavement performance, pavement, transportation infrastructure

Citation

Qiao, Y., Guo, Y., Stoner, A.M.K., & Santos, J.. 2022. Impacts of future climate change on flexible road pavement economics: A life cycle costs analysis of 24 case studies across the United States. Sustainable Cities and Society, 80. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scs.2022.103773

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