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Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
202-366-4000


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Pavements

 

Pavement Sustainability Basics

What is sustainability?

Sustainability is often described as the balance of the environmental, social, and economic needs, collectively referred to as the "triple-bottom line."

In the context of pavements, "sustainable" typically refers to system characteristics that indicate pavement’s ability to:

  • Achieve the engineering goals for which it was constructed
  • Preserve and restore surrounding ecosystems
  • Use financial, human, and environmental resources economically
  • Meet basic human needs such as health, safety, equity, employment, comfort, and happiness

Learn more about the importance of sustainability, tradeoff considerations, and future directions.

How can sustainability be measured?

For each of aspect of sustainability, there are associated assessment methods and metrics:

  • Economic: Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) and Life Cycle Planning (LCP)
  • Environmental: Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
  • Social: Sustainability Rating Systems (SRS) and Social LCA (SLCA)
Economic Environmental Social

How can sustainability be improved?

Opportunities to improve pavement sustainability are context-specific and exist throughout the life cycle.

To learn more about various ways to improve pavement sustainability, check out the reference document, sustainability checklist, technical article, and case studies.

Updated: 12/14/2021
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000