The Illinois Tollway announced in June that it will partner with the Illinois Center for Transportation (ICT) to develop life-cycle assessment (LCA) tools to measure the environmental impact of roadways during their lifetimes. The Tollway board of directors approved a $1.3 million, three-year agreement with ICT for this project.
The LCA tools will assess every stage in the lifespan of a roadway or bridge, including materials, construction, roadway use, maintenance and repairs, and disposal or recycling. The assessment process includes gathering energy and material use data, which will assist in tracking, monitoring, and evaluating environmental impact. ICT researchers will develop models for tire-rolling resistance on pavements and its impact on fuel use and emissions. The Tollway will be able to evaluate the environmental impact of any roadway section throughout its life cycle. These tools will provide the Tollway a more complete data set, leading to more informed, environmentally responsible decisions.
“The Tollway is committed to making environmental responsibility and sustainability part of everything we do—from planning to implementation to maintenance,” said Illinois Tollway executive director Kristi Lafleur. “We are excited that these innovative new tools will not only help us better integrate sustainable practices into our construction projects but will also allow us to evaluate their effectiveness during construction and beyond.”
Imad Al-Qadi, ICT director and Founder Professor of Engineering in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will serve as principal investigator for the project. Other research team members from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering include professors Jeremy Guest, Yanfeng Ouyang, Hasan Ozer, Jeffery Roesler, and Arthur Schmidt.
About the Illinois Tollway The Illinois Tollway is a user-fee system that receives no state or federal funds for maintenance and operations. The agency maintains and operates 286 miles of interstate tollways in 12 counties in northern Illinois, including the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88), the Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355), the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90), and the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80).