Towards a sustainable road infrastructure in an age of digitization: opportunities and challenges

Sammanfattning: Pavement system plays an indispensable role in the socio-economic and sustainable development of every modern society. Yet, pavement construction and maintenance is also responsible for a significant fraction of the GHG emissions from the whole transport sector. At the same time, the extensive global pavement network entails continual investment in maintenance and rehabilitation activities. Given the evidence from previous studies, pavement maintenance has a great potential in reducing pavement-induced GHG emissions and fuel consumption. To assist the transition towards a future sustainable road infrastructure, this thesis has marked the theoretical basis of sustainable pavement maintenance management. Two approaches are discussed to offer a multi-dimensional view for future sustainability improvement in pavement maintenance practices. With the still-evolving concept of sustainability in road infrastructure, it is necessary to recognize where we are and what we need to do to develop a comprehensive management framework with the opportunities and challenges. Based on a systematic literature review, this project identifies the current stage of sustainable road infrastructure management and guides to sustainability-oriented maintenance optimization for designing top-down strategies. Meanwhile, it is not enough to only optimize the decision-making process; more bottom-up knowledge of pavement materials is required to inform better maintenance design. This thesis has focused on the self-healing property of asphalt material due to the non-negligible sustainability indications it implies. By applying neutron tomography and image processing technique, the microstructural changes during the self-healing process are analyzed with its 7-hour time-series volumetric data. The experiment has shown that different filler content has a great influence on self-healing efficiency in asphalt mastics. The results will give us the possibility to optimize asphalt self-repair, shedding a light on a new generation of sustainable asphalt pavement. The two approaches presented in this thesis offer valuable insights into sustainable road infrastructure optimization from different aspects.

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