Hard Road Ahead

Michael J. Coren has a preview of an MIT report that lays out the economic and environmental benefits of stiffer pavement.
June 5, 2012, 8am PDT | jerinbrent
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It's not much, but roadway asphalt has a springiness to it. As cars roll over asphalt they create indentions about .0003 inches deep. As a result, cars are essentially going up a tiny, yet endless, hill.

"A study by MIT civil engineers found stiffening the nation's pavements could cut fuel use by 3%, the equivalent of 273 million barrels of crude oil, or $15 billion, per year. As a result, CO2 emissions (PDF) would fall by 46.5 million metric tons per year (more than Oregon emits from burning fossil fuels annually)," writes Coren.

The research by Mehdi Akbarian and Franz-Josef Ulm of MIT will appear later this month in the Transportation Research Record. The researchers insist that the cost of replacing roadway surfaces would pay for itself over time. A statement from MIT indicates "...state departments of transportation would save money while reducing their environmental footprint over time, because the roads won't deteriorate as quickly."

Thanks to Jessica Brent

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Published on Monday, June 4, 2012 in Fast Co.Exist
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