Increased costs to US pavement infrastructure from future temperature rise

B. Shane Underwood, Zack Guido, Padmini Gudipudi, Yarden Feinberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Roadway design aims to maximize functionality, safety, and longevity. The materials used for construction, however, are often selected on the assumption of a stationary climate. Anthropogenic climate change may therefore result in rapid infrastructure failure and, consequently, increased maintenance costs, particularly for paved roads where temperature is a key determinant for material selection. Here, we examine the economic costs of projected temperature changes on asphalt roads across the contiguous United States using an ensemble of 19 global climate models forced with RCP 4.5 and 8.5 scenarios. Over the past 20 years, stationary assumptions have resulted in incorrect material selection for 35% of 799 observed locations. With warming temperatures, maintaining the standard practice for material selection is estimated to add approximately US$13.6, US$19.0 and US$21.8 billion to pavement costs by 2010, 2040 and 2070 under RCP4.5, respectively, increasing to US$14.5, US$26.3 and US$35.8 for RCP8.5. These costs will disproportionately affect local municipalities that have fewer resources to mitigate impacts. Failing to update engineering standards of practice in light of climate change therefore significantly threatens pavement infrastructure in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)704-707
Number of pages4
JournalNature Climate Change
Volume7
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 29 2017

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pavement
infrastructure
costs
cost
climate change
temperature
climate
road
asphalt
functionality
municipality
global climate
climate modeling
warming
determinants
engineering
scenario
safety
material
resource

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Increased costs to US pavement infrastructure from future temperature rise. / Underwood, B. Shane; Guido, Zack; Gudipudi, Padmini; Feinberg, Yarden.

In: Nature Climate Change, Vol. 7, No. 10, 29.09.2017, p. 704-707.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Underwood, BS, Guido, Z, Gudipudi, P & Feinberg, Y 2017, 'Increased costs to US pavement infrastructure from future temperature rise', Nature Climate Change, vol. 7, no. 10, pp. 704-707. https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate3390
Underwood, B. Shane ; Guido, Zack ; Gudipudi, Padmini ; Feinberg, Yarden. / Increased costs to US pavement infrastructure from future temperature rise. In: Nature Climate Change. 2017 ; Vol. 7, No. 10. pp. 704-707.
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