Fuel Savings and Reductions in Emissions: Canadian Urban Highways and Freeways

Hard Facts on How Concrete Pavement Helps the Environment

These case studies present the range of potential fuel savings and reductions in emissions that could be achieved if specific sections of highways were constructed of concrete rather than asphalt.  For example, the Urban Highway fact sheet below is based on having a 100 km section of a major urban arterial highway and calculates the results if it were constructed of concrete.  It is assumed 1,095,000 heavy trucks per year travel on this section of roadway, based on 20,000 vehicles per day at 15% heavy truck traffic.

The figures used in these fact sheets are based on independent studies of fuel efficiency in relation to pavement type. These studies were carried out by the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) on behalf of the Natural Resources Canada Action Plan 2000 on Climate Change - Concrete Roads Advisory Committee, which included members from the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario and Transports Québec.

These studies, published in 2002 and 2006, concluded that heavy trucks traveling on concrete pavement accumulate statistically significant fuel savings, ranging from 0.8% to 6.9%. These fuel savings also lead to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants.

pdf Fact Sheet Alberta Highway 2 Calgary to red Deer 539.93 Kb

pdf Fact Sheet BC Tarns-Canada Highway Vancouver to Abbotsford 541.80 Kb

pdf Fact Sheet Canada Major Urban Arterial Highway 525.98 Kb

pdf Fact Sheet Nova Scotia Highway 102 Halifax to Truro 539.48 Kb

pdf Fact Sheet Ontario Highway 401 Toronto to London 530.15 Kb

pdf Fact Sheet Quebec Highway 20 Montreal to Quebec City 526.51 Kb

For more detail on the potential fuel savings, see following studies. 

  pdf Effects of Pavement Structure on Vehicle Fuel Consumption - Phase III 1017.30 Kb

  pdf Additional Analysis of the Effect of Pavement Structure on Truck Fuel Consumption-2 153.97 Kb