Cambridge, Mass—During the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub 2013 Showcase running Sept. 25-26 at MIT's Media Lab in Cambridge, Mass. The Honorable Ray LaHood, former Secretary of Transportation, will deliver the keynote speech on the importance of considering the long-term impacts of infrastructure decisions-a key element of the Hub's research.
The first session on pavements addresses two key issues for infrastructure investment: cost and environmental impact of systems of streets and highways.
With the transportation sector burning more than 174 billion gallons of fuel each year, making up 27 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, governments at various levels are struggling to find ways to fund adequate infrastructure investment in today's economic climate.
MIT researchers found that a key environmental impact is how pavement properties affect the fuel economy of cars and trucks. Roadway roughness and stiffness affect fuel consumption. If the pavement deflects or bends slightly under traffic loads, cars and trucks are running in a slight depression that increases fuel consumption. Stiffer pavements produce less rolling resistance and better fuel economy.
To address infrastructure funding issues, MIT researchers have developed data to help determine the real cost of pavement during its useful life. Life-cycle cost analysis (LCCA) is a tool used to assess the total cost throughout the life of a construction project. It includes both initial construction and the future cost of maintenance and rehabilitation. Hub researchers have demonstrated the importance of accounting for the uncertainty in future material prices in assessing life-cycle costs.
For more information on the Showcase, or to register, visit