What is LCAP?

The Life Cycle Assessment of Pavements (LCAP) is a tool to help project teams understand the whole-of-life greenhouse gas emissions impacts of different pavement designs, including the use of recycled materials or reuse of existing pavement layers.

The tool supports robust environmental decision making on pavement designs and allows more sustainable sourcing to be investigated, such as comparing transport distances from different aggregate sources, or using recycled or alternative materials.

Information from LCAP can be used alongside technical and cost calculations to guide pavement design choices at the detailed business case and detailed design phases, as well as for maintenance treatments.

LCAP considers the construction, maintenance and end-of-life phases of pavement design, as well as the impact on additional vehicle emissions (by estimating the impact of pavement-vehicle interactions on emissions, and the effect of maintenance-induced traffic delays).

The research used to develop the tool has produced interesting insights from comparing pavement designs, including:

  • reusing suitable layers of pavement is an effective method of reducing emissions
  • recycled crushed concrete can be transported at least 30 km further than virgin aggregate and still have an equivalent or lower carbon footprint
  • reclaimed asphalt pavement can be transported at least 500 km for recycling and still have an equivalent carbon footprint to virgin asphalt pavement
  • the relative impacts of raw materials are higher when pavements have shorter design lives.

Research Report 695: Life cycle assessment of pavements – development of a calculator

Using LCAP

LCAP is an Excel spreadsheet.

Life Cycle Assessment of Pavements (LCAP) [XLSX, 1.2 MB]

Instructions are provided in the spreadsheet, and additional user guidance is available in the Life Cycle Assessment of Pavements (LCAP) tool user guide.

Life Cycle Assessment of Pavements (LCAP) tool user guide [PDF, 1.4 MB]

Versions and updates

The current version of LCAP is version 2. Work to improve the tool is ongoing and an updated version is expected to be released in mid-2024. Improvements will include improving the user interface, updates to the maintenance and traffic delay and pavement–vehicle interactions on vehicle emissions calculations, and updates to emissions factors with recent New Zealand environmental product declarations.

For technical support and updates on LCAP, email environment@nzta.govt.nz with 'LCAP tool' in the subject line and you will be added to the mailing list. To provide feedback on the tool, contact us at that same email address.

Resources and tools

For further information and tools, see our resource efficiency and waste minimisation web page.

Resource efficiency and waste minimisation