Studying the Impact of Accelerated Construction Methods in Work Zones using Micro-simulation, on Vehicle Emissions and the Environment

Pavement maintenance, repair and rehabilitation (MRR) processes may have considerable environmental impacts due to traffic disruptions associated with work zones. Several studies have been conducted to determine the lifecycle impacts of construction materials used in arterial improvement projects. But most of these studies have overlooked the mobility impact due to work zones MRR activities. According to the Texas A & M Transportation Institute Urban Mobility Report (2012) user costs due to traffic delays and additional fuel consumption have increased dramatically from $24 billion to $121 billion (in constant 2011 dollars), over the last 30 years, as a result of congestion in 498 urban areas across the country. In 2011, 56 billion pounds of additional greenhouse gases (GHG) were released just because of congestion, posing serious threats to the environment. The purpose of this study is to address the impact of work-zones on traffic and come up with a comprehensive framework to model the total emissions and its effect on storm-water runoff by simulating traffic flow around work zones. Each MRR activity requires certain traffic management plans (TMP) for example lane closure, narrowed lanes, phasing/ staging, reduced speed, detours, and ramp closure, all of which impacts the traffic flow. In previous studies, simulation models used to predict the emission of work zones were mostly static emission factor models (SEFD). SEFD calculates emissions based on average operation conditions e.g. average speed and type of vehicles. Although these models produce accurate results for large scale planning studies, they are not suitable for analyzing driving conditions at the micro level such as acceleration, deceleration, idling, cruising and queuing in a work zone. There is a need of micro-simulation analysis that can capture the effects of instantaneous changes in vehicle operation and can provide an accurate prediction of traffic and emissions for a given work zone. Increased traffic emissions not only affect air quality but also have indirect effect on water quality in the form of storm-water runoff. There are two ways in which atmospheric pollutants can enter the runoff. First, the pollutants can deposit in absence of rain under the effect of gravity, wind and turbulence and secondly, by dissolving with the water droplets during the rain. The pollutants washed away from pavements are mostly suspended solids, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and heavy metals such as Pb, Zn, Cd and Cu. The transportation of these contaminants in water can be modelled using various hydrological models. Some of popular models for storm water runoff are SWMM, HSPF, TREX, and MOUSE. These models can be integrated with traffic simulation and emission models to predict the effects of congestion, associated with work-zones, on storm-water runoff. This will provide the decision makers with a work-zone environmental assessment (WEA) framework to select suitable TMPs not only economically but also from an environmental perspective. TMPs are greatly dependent on the construction process. Accelerated construction strategies are known to have minimized construction duration and traffic disruption. Micro-simulation models can be used to calculate the change, if any, in emissions for work zones involving accelerated construction. That way the feasibility of using accelerated construction in reducing the environmental impacts of MRR activities can be determined.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Contract Numbers:



  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    Department of Transport

    NGAM Division, Room 3/18, 2 Monck Street
    London,   United Kingdom  SW1P3BQ
  • Performing Organizations:

    National Institute for Advanced Transportation Technology

    University of Idaho, Moscow
    115 Engineering Physics Building
    Moscow, ID  United States  83844-0901

    Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg

    Blacksburg, VA  United States  24061

    Syracuse University

    L.C. Smith College of Engineering & Computer Science
    223 Link Hall
    Syracuse, NY  United States  13244
  • Principal Investigators:

    Davidson, Cliff

    Abdel-Rahim, Ahmed

    Rakha, Hesham

    Salem, Sam

  • Start Date: 20140101
  • Expected Completion Date: 20160131
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 36470

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01571792
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Institute for Advanced Transportation Technology
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT12GUTC17, KLK900-SB-004
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Jul 30 2015 1:01AM