Concrete Keeps Transportation Moving

From runways to highways, from subways to transitways, concrete helps develop and maintain a sustainable, environmentally friendly transportation infrastructure for Canadians.

Custom-made concrete pavement is available, suitable for any application builders have in mind. Pervious concrete for parking lots filters rainwater through to the ground below, helping solve stormwater runoff problems.  Permeable interlocking concrete pavers also provide a drainable surface that can recharge groundwater systems and still carry heavy loads, such as container handling equipment at port operations and heavy trucks on streets and intersections. For industrial applications,  roller-compacted concrete (RCC) pavement can cover large areas very economically with a tough surface that stands up to heavy traffic, massive loads and adverse weather conditions.  Conventional concrete provides a durable, long-lasting pavement for many uses, including highways and streets; airport runways, taxiways and aprons; docks and piers for freighters and ocean liners; municipal sidewalks, curbs and gutters; public transit structures from express bus routes to subways; and private driveways and walkways.

Concrete is a sustainable paving material with many social, environmental, and economical benefits. Its long-lasting, durable surface stands up to heavy loads and requires less maintenance, creating less disruption for users over time, while leaving owners with more funds to invest in new infrastructure or other projects. Other sustainable benefits include, for example:

  • heavy trucks save fuel when operating on concrete pavement
  • concrete pavement is reusable and 100 % recyclable
  • industrial by-products (e.g. fly ash and slag cement) can be incorporated in concrete pavement mixtures, thereby diverting them away from landfills
  • less granular base and subbase is required under concrete pavement, which reduces the non-renewable resources needed for roadway construction
  • concrete pavements use less energy than equivalent asphalt pavements

For example, over a 50-year period, the embodied primary energy* required to construct, maintain, and rehabilitate a typical high volume concrete highway is one third of that required for its typical asphalt equivalent, as shown in pavement structure B.

Now available as a free download, the Athena Pavement LCA web tool and the Athena Pavement LCA desktop tool

This new software package provides life cycle assessment (LCA) results for the materials manufacturing, roadway construction, use and rehabilitation life cycle stages. It allows custom roadway design, or users can draw from a library of 50 existing pavements, this software allows for quick and easy comparison of multiple alternative design options.

An overview of the software is available here, and the software can be downloaded here. Please click here to register for an upcoming webinar on the Athena Sustainable Institute Environmental Impact Estimator for Highways.