Carbon Footprint Estimation in Road Construction -- La Abundancia-Florencia Case Study

The environmental impact of road construction and rehabilitation can be associated with the increase of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), which are highly related to climate change. Consequently, departments of transportation have recently focused on the development and implementation of tools to evaluate the performance of projects and minimizing GHG emissions. An example is the use of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to analyze and quantify the environmental impact of a product, system or process, from cradle-to-grave: from obtaining raw material until the end of its useful life. In this regard, the present case study quantifies the carbon footprint associated with the construction of the La Abundancia-Florencia highway, located in the province of San Carlos in Costa Rica. The analysis is also intended to generate consciousness both in the public and private sectors on the environmental impacts of road construction. After an LCA study, it was determined that the construction of the asphalt concrete (AC) mix layer generates a carbon footprint of 65.8 kg of CO₂ per km of road. In addition, it was evident that the AC production generates the greatest environmental impact, among the considered LCA production and construction stages, with a GHG contribution of 38% to 39% from bitumen only. Consequently, special attention to AC production is required in order to minimize GHG emissions.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee AF000 Design and Construction Group.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

  • Authors:
    • Espinoza-Alfaro, Marianela
    • Campos-Campos, Noelia
    • Yang, Rebekah
    • Ozer, Hasan
    • Aguiar-Moya, José P
    • Baldi, Alejandra
    • Loria-Salazar, Luis G
    • Al-Qadi, Imad L
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2019


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 7p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01698177
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 19-04106
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Dec 7 2018 9:48AM