LIFE Project Cover Photo

Self-sustaining Urban Roads: A way to improve Environmental performance of urban areas

Reference: LIFE12 ENV/ES/000072 | Acronym: LIFESURE

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

BACKGROUND

In 2005, 76% of the total population of Western Europe - or 141 million people - lived in urban areas. By 2030, it is projected that this figure will have increased to 81.7%. One of the key impacts of greater numbers in our urban spaces is increased demand on urban transport networks. Authorities are confronted with the challenge of reconciling the ever-growing need for transport with the desire for sustainable cities. Increased transport is typically associated with environmental problems such as air and noise pollution, which can also have a significant negative impact on human health and well-being. The construction of roads produces several specific environmental challenges. The OECD estimates that 10 000 m3 of aggregates are needed for each kilometre of two-lane road and large amounts of fossil fuels are consumed. Road construction is thus associated with the consumption of raw materials and the generation of a number of air pollutants, including particulate matter (PM), nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur oxides (SOx), carbon monoxide (CO), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and carbon dioxide (CO2).


OBJECTIVES

The LIFESURE project aimed to minimise the consumption of natural resources in road construction, by producing and demonstrating the effectiveness of an innovative technology for manufacturing eco-asphalt on site. The project aimed to develop a prototype on-site asphalt plant using reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) as raw material. The aim was to test a total of 18 000 m2 of low-speed (<50 km/h) road with 100% RAP eco-asphalt in surface and binder layers against standard hot-mix asphalt, both on a test track and under real conditions on a Madrid street. The project beneficiaries sought to demonstrate that LIFESURE eco-asphalt can improve the environmental performance of urban roads, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and noise pollution, whilst reducing the consumption of raw materials and costs for road authorities.


RESULTS

LIFESURE developed, demonstrated and evaluated an innovative technology to fully recycle asphalts for use in eco-asphalts on roads, which was shown to be technically feasible, cost-efficient and more sustainable than the existing technologies.

The project beneficiaries manufactured their half-warm mix eco-asphalts at a relatively low temperature (<100ºC), using only 0.03 tonnes of binder added per tonne of recycled milled asphalt, with less or no additional natural aggregates. The beneficiaries designed the formulas for the asphalts tested during the project: a) control, a conventional hot-mix asphalt (AC16D); b) LIFESURE eco-asphalt using 100% reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP); and c) LIFESURE eco-asphalt using 70% RAP and 30% natural aggregates. They also designed and constructed a prototype plant for making half-warm mixes of recycling asphalt on-site, which was used to manufacture the eco-asphalts tested on the test track of project partner CEDEX, and on three demonstration stretches of the street Méndez álvaro in Madrid. Sensors were embedded in the asphalt mixes to monitor their behaviour.

Evaluation of the CEDEX test track showed that the eco-asphalts were not as long-lasting as conventional hot mix asphalt, being stiffer and less flexible. However, the results obtained up to the project end date for the evaluation in the street in Madrid showed that there were no significant differences between the two LIFESURE eco-asphalts (100% and 70% RAP) and the conventional hot-mix asphalt, as the three stretches had similar performances. Therefore, the LIFESURE eco-asphalts are technically feasible to be used on urban roads.

The project beneficiaries also developed an economic assessment, which concluded that the LIFESURE eco-asphalts are cheaper to manufacture than conventional asphalts. The Life Cycle Assessment also revealed that the LILIFESURE developed, demonstrated and evaluated an innovative technology to fully recycle asphalts for use in eco-asphalts on roads, which was shown to be technically feasible, cost-efficient and more sustainable than the existing technologies.

The project beneficiaries manufactured their half-warm mix eco-asphalts at a relatively low temperature (<100ºC), using only 0.03 tonnes of binder added per tonne of recycled milled asphalt, with less or no additional natural aggregates. The beneficiaries designed the formulas for the asphalts tested during the project: a) control, a conventional hot-mix asphalt (AC16D); b) LIFESURE eco-asphalt using 100% reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP); and c) LIFESURE eco-asphalt using 70% RAP and 30% natural aggregates. They also designed and constructed a prototype plant for making half-warm mixes of recycling asphalt on-site, which was used to manufacture the eco-asphalts tested on the test track of project partner CEDEX, and on three demonstration stretches of the street Méndez álvaro in Madrid. Sensors were embedded in the asphalt mixes to monitor their behaviour.

Evaluation of the CEDEX test track showed that the eco-asphalts were not as long-lasting as conventional hot mix asphalt, being stiffer and less flexible. However, the results obtained up to the project end date for the evaluation in the street in Madrid showed that there were no significant differences between the two LIFESURE eco-asphalts (100% and 70% RAP) and the conventional hot-mix asphalt, as the three stretches had similar performances. Therefore, the LIFESURE eco-asphalts are technically feasible to be used on urban roads.

The project beneficiaries also developed an economic assessment, which concluded that the LIFESURE eco-asphalts are cheaper to manufacture than conventional asphalts. The Life Cycle Assessment also revealed that the LI

ADMINISTRATIVE DATA


Reference: LIFE12 ENV/ES/000072
Acronym: LIFESURE
Start Date: 01/09/2013
End Date: 30/06/2018
Total Budget: 2,376,248 €
EU Contribution: 1,186,040 €
Project Location:
Project Website: http://www.gruposyv.com

CONTACT DETAILS


Coordinating Beneficiary: SACYR CONSTRUCCIN
Legal Status: PCO
Address: Paseo de la Castellana 83-85, 28046, Madrid,
Contact Person: Raquel CABALLERO
Email: rcaballero@sacyr.com
Tel: 34680559544
Fax:


LIFE Project Map

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES ADDRESSED

THEMES

  • Transport planning - Traffic monitoring

KEYWORDS

  • urban area
  • environmental performance
  • road construction
  • alternative material

TARGET EU LEGISLATION

  • Directive 75/442/EEC -"Waste framework directive" (15.07.1975)
  • COM(2015)614 - "Closing the loop - An EU action plan for the Circular Economy" (02.12.2015)
  • COM(2000)88 - "Towards a European Climate Change Programme (ECCP)" (08.03.2000)

BENEFICIARIES

Name Type
SACYR CONSTRUCCIN Coordinator
Ayuntamiento de Madrid, Spain Participant
Centro de Estudios de Experimentación y Obras Públicas, Spain Participant

READ MORE

Type Resource
Project web site Project's Twitter page
Project web site Project's website
Poster "Self-sustaining Urban Roads: A way to improve Environmental performance of urban roads = Pavimentos urbanos sostenibles: Reducción del impacto ambiental de las áreas urbanas" (364 KB)
Publication Layman report
Publication After-LIFE Communication Plan (Spanish version)
Publication Project's Final technical report (Spanish version, with abstract in EN)
Video link Video Sacyr. LIFESURE: Reciclados Templados con Emulsión (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMQIlB-yubA)
Leaflet "Self-sustaining Urban Roads: A way to improve Environmental performance of urban roads" (1.69 MB)

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