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NDSU research shows good roads cut greenhouse gases

Photo of Pan Lu

Pan Lu

NDSU research on the link between good highway maintenance and greenhouse gases is receiving media attention.

The work by Pan Lu, NDSU associate professor of transportation and logistics, was recently published in the International Journal of Sustainable Transportation and reported in Science Daily and Phys.org. The study was led by colleagues at Rutgers University and collaborated with NDSU and Al-Mustansiriyah University in Iraq.

According to Lu, preserving highway pavement early in its life can maintain the surface condition at minimal cost. She said the Federal Highway Administration estimates that every $1 spent on pavement preservation can delay or eliminate the need to spend $6 to $10 on rehabilitation or reconstruction in the future.

“Our research extends the benefit of preservation strategy to environmental gains. An improved surface condition results in smooth pavement and energy savings,” Lu said. “The reductions of carbon dioxide emission can be as great as 0.4 million kilograms depending on the traffic volume, preventative treatment types and application time.

“In the infrastructure management area, this research promoted important thinking to include life-cycle assessment in evaluating the environmental impact of pavement preservation strategy,” Lu said.

The study is outlined in the research article, with the reference of “Hao Wang, Israa Al-Saadi, Pan Lu, Abbas Jasim. Quantifying greenhouse gas emission of asphalt pavement preservation at construction and use stages using life-cycle assessment. International Journal of Sustainable Transportation, 2019; DOI: 10.1080/15568318.2018.1519086.”

Lu earned her bachelor’s degree at North China Electric Power University and her doctorate in transportation and logistics at NDSU. Her research interests include such areas as connected and autonomous vehicles, smart material and structure health monitoring, big data analytics for transportation, asset management and smart transportation.

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