Enhanced reduction of CO2 emission is crucial to modern society and for road administrations this is still an area for development. Some efforts are already made on computation of CO2 emission to identify low CO2 emission solutions in road constructions. CEREAL aims to build a model that can easily calculate the most important contributions of CO2 emission and consequently guide a reduction strategy.
Most currently available national models focus heavily on the design or optimisation of the use of materials. The tool to be developed in the CEREAL project will concentrate on maintenance and rehabilitation of in service roads since few new roads are built in Europe. Approximately 90% of the road construction works is maintenance and reconstruction of roads whereas only 10% of the work consists of building new roads. However, the tool will also be applicable to new roads, to assure full applicability.
CEREAL will be kept as simple as possible without loss of reliability and accuracy for gaining enough information to make the proper decisions. The dominant contributing aspects will be identified and included in the model.
The tool will be easy to use for non-experts, and with a friendly interface. We consider this condition very important, if we want to ensure a widespread use among European road authorities and contractors.
Furthermore, CEREAL will use and evaluate present available models and data and provide a complementary, harmonised European model, in line with the present developments on the European level.
Various efforts will be deployed to enhance widespread use. Platforms like CEDR, FEHRL and EAPA will be contacted at an early stage for inventories of the needs and wishes European wide. Based on this information the functional requirements will be formulated. In a later stage these organisations will be contacted for testing of the CEREAL tool. Close contact with the stakeholders is also needed to get a clear picture of design, maintenance and rehabilitation procedures among EU member states but also how tools as CEREAL should be embedded for a long life use after completion.
The CEREAL project was initiated to enhance Europe wide carbon foot printing of road construction and pavement maintenance. In more detail the following goals were listed at the start of the project:
- Development of a tool for the assessment of the CO2 emission in different phases of a road pavement life cycle (design, construction, maintenance and rehabilitation)
- Identification of the predominant factors in the CO2 emission preventing that the tool should be too complex. The objective was to keep the tool as simple as possible though still gaining sufficient information to make the proper decisions. The simpler a tool is the less adaptation will be needed later on.
- Easy to use for non-experts, and with a friendly interface. This condition was considered to be very important to ensure a widespread use among European road administrations, contractors and consulting agencies.
- Applicable to most member states of Europe, but hopefully even more transnational.
The development of a new tool requires thorough preparation to ensure that existing knowledge is fully used and that the new tool fulfils the needs of the potential users or target group. Therefore the first step in the project was to gather information on the present experience with CO2 tools for road construction and maintenance projects and to inventory the tools available. This step was made by conducting a survey and a series of more in-depth interviews. Based on this information the functional requirements of the tool were determined, describing the structure, purpose and application of the tool, the target group and the features that are needed to create a useful tool.
In order to make complete use of existing knowledge, all known existing tools and databases have been acquired and assessed for usefulness of structure and data. The match between the existing tools and the functional requirements has been studied in this assessment.
The functional requirements and knowledge of existing tools and their positive and less useful aspects formed the basis for the tool development. The result of the tool development is the Carbon Road Map. The beta version of the Carbon Road Map has been tested in several steps. First a series of internal tests and re-adjustments within the project team have been carried out. Secondly an external test and survey among the members of the expert panel has been conducted. In the last phase, the tool has been demonstrated and evaluated in two international workshops. Based on the results the tool has been adjusted several times and a final version has been prepared.