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Anticipating and Responding to Pavement Performance as Climate Changes

Dawson, Andrew


Andrew Dawson


Kasthurirangan Gopalakrishnan

Wynand JvdM Steyn

John Harvey


As climate changes, the performance of pavements can be expected to change too. More rainfall can be expected to lead to softer subgrades and less sup-port to the pavement structure with consequences for more rapid cracking and rut-ting. Even if the amount of rainfall doesn’t change, many places can expect the rain to fall in less frequent but more intense storms leading to challenges for cur-rent pavement drainage systems. If temperature rises, then asphaltic pavements may be expected to suffer from greater rutting in hot weather; but if the tempera-ture rise causes greater evaporation then improved support conditions could arise; and if the temperature rise is in winter in an area that historically experiences fully frozen conditions in the winter, then weak, thawing pavements could result. Pre-dicting these and other effects of climate change involves an understanding of the sensitivity to climatic effects of both material properties and of overall pavement performance. In turn the predictions of such changes might indicate the need for adaptation in design, construction or materials selection – the extent of the need being dependent on the severity and risk associated with the predicted changes. In this way appropriate responses can be made to the challenges that future climate change will bring. In some places no change to practice may be required. Howev-er, for most authorities the immediate response should be to restate design codes and specifications with climate change in view. Mostly, the practices, techniques and tools for an adequate response are already available but users may need to employ adjusted practice if they don’t want future maintenance demands to be-come excessive.


Dawson, A. (2014). Anticipating and Responding to Pavement Performance as Climate Changes. In K. Gopalakrishnan, W. J. Steyn, & J. Harvey (Eds.), Climate Change, Energy, Sustainability and Pavements (127-157). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Acceptance Date Sep 26, 2014
Online Publication Date Sep 26, 2014
Publication Date 2014
Deposit Date Jun 28, 2016
Electronic ISSN 1865-3529
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 127-157
Series Title Green energy and technology
Book Title Climate Change, Energy, Sustainability and Pavements
ISBN 9783662447185
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Accepted date is estimated.

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