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MIT research highlights significance of road design in emissions reduction

Published by , Editor - Hydrocarbon Engineering
World Cement,

The US Environment Protection Agency’s (EPA) new emission standards for cars and gasoline do not address opportunities to reduce pollution through enhanced infrastructure, according to the Portland Cement Association.

Researchers at the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub have found that how a road is constructed could have a significant impact on the fuel economy of cars and trucks, resulting in fewer emissions. Research models predict that the use of stiffer pavements could reduce fuel use by as much as 3%, creating a reduction of 46.5 million t of CO2 each year.

Gregory M. Scott, President and CEO of the Portland Cement Association, stated that the government must address the efficiency of vehicles on the road and the chemistry of gasoline, as well as look at the actual road design for fuel economy and emission reductions.

“We should expand the debate beyond making more efficient cars and trucks to making more efficient infrastructure. Stiffer pavements, such as pavements made from concrete, produce less rolling resistance and better fuel economy,” said Scott.

MIT’s research models were tested by Florida International University in real-world conditions with similar results. The tests involved the study of vehicles travelling on the I-95. Results showed that travelling on rigid pavements consumes 3.2% less fuel than travelling on flexible pavements for passenger vehicles and 4.5% less fuel for loaded tractor-trailers. If all pavements in the state were rigid, it could reduce CO2 emissions by more than 5 million t in Florida alone.

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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