A Framework for Introducing Climate-Change Adaptation in Pavement Management

Academic Article


  • Greenhouse gas emissions have caused global temperatures to rise since the mid-20th century accompanied by sea-level rise (SLR). Temperature increases and SLR-induced groundwater rise have been shown to cause premature pavement failure in many roadway structures. Hybrid bottom-up/top-down (hybrid) adaptation approaches have shown promise by initially investigating an asset’s response to incremental environmental change and then identifying the timing of critical effects for budgetary planning. This improves practitioners’ understanding of the asset’s climate resiliency and informs adaptation-plan development to minimize both cost and risk. In this study, a hybrid approach to pavement adaptation with climate-change-induced temperature and groundwater rise is demonstrated at a case-study site in coastal New Hampshire. The hot-mix-asphalt (HMA) thickness that achieves a minimum of 85% reliability is calculated for 70 combinations of incremental temperature and groundwater rise. Increasing the base-layer thickness improves resiliency against rising temperatures, but rising groundwater diminishes this improvement demonstrating that both HMA and base-layer thickness increases are needed. Thirteen adaptation pathways are evaluated for pavement performance, life-cycle costs, and road-surface inundation over a 60-year pavement management period. A stepwise and flexible adaptation plan is developed that includes HMA overlays with prescribed thickness and application timing, base-layer rehabilitation options, and re-evaluation opportunities.
  • Authors

  • Knott, Jayne E
  • Jacobs, Jennifer
  • Sias, Jo
  • Kirshen, Paul
  • Dave, Eshan
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • August 2019
  • Published In

  • Sustainability  Journal
  • Keywords

  • adaptation planning
  • climate change
  • groundwater rise
  • infrastructure
  • life-cycle costs
  • pavement management systems
  • pavements
  • resiliency
  • sea-level rise
  • temperature rise
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 4382
  • End Page

  • 4382
  • Volume

  • 11
  • Issue

  • 16