Uncertainty Management in Comparative Life-Cycle Assessment of Pavements

Paper by NOSHADRAVAN XU SWEI GREGORY KIRCHAIN from ISCR 12th 2014 Prague Czech Republic

There is significant uncertainty and variation in the environmental life cycle assessment of pavements. Uncertainty and scenario variation should be sufficiently accounted in the comparative life cycle assessment in order to increase the confidence on decisions regarding the environmental implications of alternative pavement systems. In this paper we first present a probabilistic approach for conducting comparative environmental life cycle analysis of pavements under uncertainty and variation. Making use of this model, we then examine the effect of variation in design life and analysis period on the results of comparative life cycle global warming potential of pavements. Two types of pavement alternatives under four different scenarios are compared. These scenarios are defined by prescribing different sets of values for the design life and analysis period. This information is used to quantify the degree by which the conclusion regarding the environmental superiority of the pavement choices under study is influenced by the variation in the design life and the analysis period. The results indicate that for the presented case study the variation in the design life and the analysis period does not lead to a different decision regarding the environmental advantage of these two pavement types.

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