Publication Detail

Pavement Life Cycle Inventories for California: Models and Data Development in the Last Decade for Caltrans


Research Report

UC Pavement Research Center

Suggested Citation:
Saboori, Arash, Ali A. Butt, John T. Harvey, Maryam Ostovar, Hui Li, Ting Wang (2022) Pavement Life Cycle Inventories for California: Models and Data Development in the Last Decade for Caltrans. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-22-80

This technical memorandum documents the details and assumptions used to develop the University of California Pavement Research Center (UCPRC) life cycle inventory (LCI) database for quantifying the environmental impacts of California pavement projects, as well as  some  impacts  from  building  heating,  cooling,  and  lighting.  The  UCPRC  LCI  database  presented  in  this  technical  memorandum  is mainly the result of three UCPRC life cycle assessment studies: one completed for the California Air Resources Board and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) looking at the heat island effects of pavement, and two others for Caltrans that updated LCI for pavement  processes.  The  LCI data  presented  were  intended  as  background  data for  those  studies  and  do  not  include  foreground  inventories for pavement designs, maintenance schedules, building designs, and vehicle traffic levels and fuel consumption. Further, the data  in  this  technical memorandum do  not  include  background  information  for  any  use stage  elements  other  than  building  energy  consumption (e.g., the LCI database presented in this report does not include pavement vehicle interaction, street lighting, carbonation, or albedo effects due to radiative forcing).

The LCIs in the database have been incorporated into the life cycle assessment software application eLCAP (environmental Life Cycle Assessment for Pavement). These inventories will be updated continually as part of the ongoing development of eLCAP. The data for the urban heat island studied were submitted for outside critical review to verify the accuracy and reliability of the data sources, modeling assumptions, and LCI results. A three-member review committee conducted the verification according to ISO 14040 requirements. The other data and models in the database that have not yet been critically reviewed are identified. The main goal of the development of each LCI was to represent the local conditions, technologies, and practices in terms of the electricity grid mix, material production processes, plant energy sources, transportation modes, mix designs, construction specifications (new construction, maintenance, and rehabilitation), and  end-of-life  practices  used  in  California.  These  inventories  can  also  be  used  as  a  framework  for  creating  regional  LCIs for  other  locations around the world. The main commercial software used to develop these LCIs was GaBi,  developed by thinkstep. Other database sources were also used, including ecoinvent and the U.S. Life Cycle Inventory (USLCI)database.

This database presented in this document will be periodically updated and subjected to critical review in the future.

Key words: sustainability, life cycle assessment, U.S. Life Cycle Inventory database, transportation infrastructure, cool pavements, eLCAP