Sustainability review of Norwegian road construction and infrastructure


Effective and efficient road transportation in Norway is a continuing concern. The growth in population and the continuing need for better infrastructure to serve this population propel the growth of road construction. Roads will continue to occupy the most prominent place in the Norwegian transport puzzle as the most commonly used form of transport by both people and goods today. The quadrennial National Transport Plan guides large scale transport planning in Norway and has recently included national CO2 emissions reductions targets for all new road infrastructure and construction. At the same time, the investment in Norwegian road infrastructure is at an all-time high, as authorities seek to modernize the Norwegian road network through megaprojects, such as the Ferry Free E39. This increase in investment and construction will inevitably lead to an increase in resource consumption and emissions without wise planning decisions, smart material choices and the use of sustainability assessment tools. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is one such tool that is used to measure environmental impacts of infrastructure and construction processes, including climate change emissions. To what extent LCA is already used in Norwegian road planning and what lessons can be learned from earlier studies that can apply to today’s megaprojects are of interest to road builders if emissions reduction goals are to be taken seriously. The purpose of this paper is to determine the state-of-the-art of Norwegian road LCA and determine in which direction Norwegian research should move. The first section of the paper looks at the overarching conditions for Norwegian road construction in terms of planning, trends, and policy; the second section looks at relevant LCA studies on Norwegian roads, while the third section looks at possible research paths which should be followed to better assess and reduce the impacts of emissions in road infrastructure.

1st International Conference on Sustainable Mega Infrastructures - SMI 2018
Holger Wallbaum
Holger Wallbaum
Full Professor, Vice-Head of Department and Vice-Dean for Research

Holger is a Full Professor in sustainable building at the Division of Building Technology, research group Sustainable Building, and in the Area of advance Building Futures. Holger works within sustainable building on concepts, tools and strategies to enhance the sustainability performance of construction materials, building products, buildings as well as entire cities.