Repository logo

A critical review of road network material stocks and flows: Current progress and what we can learn from it

Published version

Repository DOI



Change log


Grossegger, D 
MacAskill, K 
Al-Tabbaa, A 


Road construction and maintenance uses enormous amounts of raw materials and energy, representing the second largest accumulated material stock in the built environment after buildings. Evaluating its stock composition and induced material flows is essential in understanding the environmental impacts of road infrastructure. In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of material flow analysis studies related to road infrastructure. The aim of this review was twofold. Firstly, understanding the materials investigated and the associated quantification approaches, and secondly, establishing implications for moving towards a circular economy approach to road management and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The review covers 86 studies, concluding that a near-stock saturation of well-developed road networks does not cause a decrease in material demand, as ageing and climate change-affected road structures continuously require maintenance. More than 50 % of road materials used in well-developed road networks are used for maintenance. Utilising reclaimed materials eases natural resource exploitation, but various barriers still diminish its full potential. There is a need to reduce estimation uncertainties through additional or consistent data (remote sensing is increasingly used) or higher data accuracy to establish material flow analysis as a policy support tool for circular economy and greenhouse gas emission reduction.



41 Environmental Sciences, 40 Engineering, 4104 Environmental Management, 13 Climate Action, 12 Responsible Consumption and Production

Journal Title

Resources, Conservation and Recycling

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title



Elsevier BV
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) Marie Sk?odowska-Curie actions (101034337)