Civil engineers from MIT have completed a study in which they have determined that vehicle fuel consumption could be reduced by as much as 3 percent by having stiffer roads. Looking at the way forces interact between the tire and the road, the researchers conclude that, "This has the effect of making the tires on the vehicle drive continuously up a slight slope."
Inefficiencies due to saggy roads are responsible for the use of an extra 273 million barrels of crude oil per year (costing $15.6 billion at today’s oil prices) and producing CO2 emissions of 46.5 million metric tons. In addition to the fuel savings, building better roads would reduce maintenance costs, providing long-term savings and improved national infrastructure.
“We’re wasting fuel unnecessarily because pavement design has been based solely on minimizing initial costs more than performance — how well the pavement holds up — when it should also take into account the environmental footprint of pavements based on variations in external conditions,” according to Mehdi Akbarian, one of the study's authors.
With over 8.5 million lane miles making up the US roadway network, it would take a long time to revamp the entire system. But the results of the study could be applied to make improvements to the way roads are repaired and maintained, leading to a better road system over time.
Public Domain image by Shadowlink1014/Wikimedia
via: MIT News
written by Alan Greenspan, June 08, 2012
written by Robert, June 08, 2012
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