FHWA Steps Up Efforts to Tackle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Highway Construction with $7.1 Million for ‘Climate Challenge’ Participants


Challenge will advance the use of sustainable pavements and quantify environmental impacts

As part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s ongoing work to address climate change, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today announced $7.1 million for 25 state departments of transportation involved in FHWA’s Climate Challenge. FHWA launched the Climate Challenge Initiative earlier this year to quantify the impacts of sustainable pavements and to demonstrate ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in highway projects using sustainable construction materials. The new funding is being announced as part of the Federal Buy Clean Initiative to promote the use of American-made, lower-carbon construction materials in Federal procurement and Federally-funded projects.

“As the sector of the U.S. economy that produces the most carbon emissions, transportation must be a central arena for solutions in our fight against climate change,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Sustainable pavement may not sound glamorous, but it’s an example of the kind of creative and important work needed in this moment, and we’re proud to support innovative efforts in this field across the country.”

See related articles: Historic Step: All Fifty States Plus D.C. and Puerto Rico Greenlit to Move EV Charging Networks Forward, Covering 75,000 Miles of Highway, FHWA Highlights Actions to Tackle Climate Change with New Programs and Historic Funding Under President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,

The Climate Challenge Initiative is part of a department-wide effort announced during Earth Week 2022 to encourage transportation agencies and others to identify innovative ways to reduce transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions. The challenge presents a unique opportunity to improve the sustainability of pavement structures and work towards net-zero emissions. It also supports the new Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funded Carbon Reduction Program (CRP) announced earlier this year that unlocks $6.4 billion in formula funding over five years for states and localities to develop carbon reduction strategies and to address the climate crisis.

“To achieve our goal of addressing climate change, we must encourage investment in more sustainable transportation, and the Climate Challenge Initiative is one way to do that,” said Acting Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack. “Today the Climate Challenge Initiative will provide state transportation agencies with resources to inform pavement engineering decisions that support reduced environmental impacts in highway transportation projects. This is critical in the Nation’s all-of-the-above efforts to achieve our Net Zero emissions goals.”

The Climate Challenge Initiative provides funding, training, and technical assistance to help state departments of transportation (DOTs) and other public sector stakeholders explore the use of Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). Together LCAs and EPDs illustrate the environmental impacts of pavement materials and products, including quantifying greenhouse gas emissions. These standard practices can inform decisions for highway construction projects, pavement material, and design.

During this first cycle of the Climate Challenge Initiative, FHWA plans to host peer exchanges and webinars and develop case study reports to share lessons learned, outcomes, and next steps for further implementation. Over the next two years participants will receive training and work with various stakeholders including industry and academia to implement projects that quantify the environmental impacts of pavements using LCAs and EPDs. More information is available at FHWA Climate Challenge – Quantifying Emissions of Sustainable Pavements.

Climate Challenge Participants and Project Description

StateAgency NameProject Description Funding Awarded
AlabamaAlabama DOTQuantifying Emissions from the Production and Construction of Balanced Mix Design (BMD) Asphalt Mixtures with Recycled Materials, Warm Mix Asphalt, and Recycling Agents.$312,000
ArizonaArizona DOTExploring Arizona DOT pavement materials and performance using LCA, PCRs, and EPDs to quantify resource use, energy, emissions and inform design selection processes.$280,000
CaliforniaCaltransProject 1: Provide Concrete, Asphalt, and/or Aggregate plants access to EPD Tool(s).

Project 2: Reduced Temperature Production and Chemical Warm Mix Asphalt. Project 3: Exploring the Effects of High Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP) Rejuvenated Asphalt on Pavement Performance and Greenhouse Gas Emissions using EPDs and Balanced Mix Design Principles.
ColoradoColorado DOTContinued Implementation Activities Associated with HB 1303 – Buy Clean Colorado Act and Going Beyond Materials.$312,000
DelawareState of Delaware DOTQuantifying Carbon Emissions in Pavement Construction, Maintenance, and Preservation.$312,000
HawaiiState of Hawaii DOTPlastic Recycling Research Facility in Hawaii.$312,000
IllinoisIllinois DOTField Demonstration of Dolomite Quarry By-products Used in Local Road Construction in Illinois.$312,000
IndianaIndiana DOTEPD Benchmark Project for Indiana Pavement.$312,000
IowaIowa DOTUse of EPDs and LCA to quantify emissions and associated impacts of material and design decisions to enhance sustainable pavement practices in Iowa.$312,000
LouisianaLouisiana DOT & DevelopmentSustainability through Development of Life Cycle Information Models for Pavements in Louisiana.$312,000
MarylandMaryland DOT  MD Port AdministrationProject 1: Informed Emissions Reduction Strategies for Asphalt and Concrete Paving Projects. Project 2: Geoenvironmental and LCA of Highway Infiltration Berms Constructed with Dredged Sediments.$312,000
MinnesotaMinnesota DOTUsing LCA to Reduce Embodied Carbon in Pavement Infrastructure at Minnesota DOT.$312,000
MississippiMississippi DOTConducting LCA for Asphalt Pavements Constructed with Cold Mixes.$312,000
MissouriMissouri DOTA Roadmap for Missouri: Assessing Needs an Implementation Framework for Incorporating EPDs.$312,000
New JerseyNew Jersey DOTProject 1: Utilization of EPDs and LCA to Promote Sustainability in New Jersey’s Pavements. Project 2: Improve Sustainability of Asphalt Pavement Overlay in New Jersey.$204,000
New YorkNew York State DOTPotential Environmental Benefit of Performance Mixes.$312,000
North DakotaNorth Dakota DOTNDDOT Sustainable Pavements Evaluation.$240,000
OklahomaOklahoma DOTEvaluating the Broader Impacts of Balanced Mix Design (BMD) and Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA) Specifications and Incentives in Oklahoma through a LCA Framework.$283,448
OregonState of Oregon DOTProject 1: Asphalt plant renewable propane proof of concept and LCA development. Project 2: The impact of declining roadway conditions on road user costs and Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Project 3:  LCA Program Implementation and support. $312,000
Puerto RicoPuerto Rico Highway and Transportation AuthorityProject 1: Puerto Rico Sustainability Workshop Series; A Hands-on Workshop Series on LCAs and EPDs. Project 2: Puerto Rico LCA and EPD Development Plan.$120,000
Rhode IslandRhode Island DOTResilient Resurfacing – A Permeable Pavement Pilot.$312,000
TexasTexas DOTDeveloping Capacity for Whole-Life LCA.$312,000
VirginiaVirginia DOTQuantifying Greener Pavements in Virginia.$312,000
West VirginiaWest Virginia DOT; Division of HighwaysInvestigating Sustainable Asphalt Mix Design Solutions in West Virginia.$79,671
WashingtonWashington DOTUsing LCA to Reduce Embodied Carbon in Pavement Infrastructure at Washington DOT.$312,000
Local AgencyCity of SeattleReducing Embodied Carbon in City of Seattle Capital Projects.Only Technical Assistance Provided
Local AgencyThe Port of Authority of New York and New JerseyProject 1: LCA Data Gaps and Refinement. Project 2: Low Carbon Asphalt Support. Project 3: Standard for Benchmarking against 2006.Only Technical Assistance Provided

*DOT = Department of Transportation
*LCA = Life Cycle Assessment
*EPD = Environmental Product Declaration
*PCR = Product Category Rules
Total Amount Awarded:  $7,135,119