Understanding how road conditions affect vehicle emissions in Spain


Policy approach(es) used to catalyse investment: Development of a national, regional, or sectoral InfraTech strategy

Commercial approach(es.) used to catalyse investment: New platform for InfraTech ecosystem

Technology approach(es) used to catalyse investment: Change in data standards/architecture

Finance approach(es) used to catalyse investment:  Public investment

Key benefits: 

Climate mitigation 

Scale of deployment: 

Initially in research sections. Subsequently scalable to the entire road network. 

Project value: 

EUR250,000 has already been invested in the project. This year and over the next five years, an additional EUR5 million will be invested 

Project start/end dates: 

2020–2023 (possibility of extension) 

Current status of the project: 

Research and development 

Fuel consumption rates, and by extension emissions, are closely related to the conditions of the roads on which vehicles drive. It is estimated that proper maintenance of European road pavements could save 28 million tonnes of CO2 per year, which could be equivalent to EUR560 million per year. For this reason, the Directorate General for Roads, Spanish Ministry of Transport, ASEFMA (the Spanish association of manufacturers of asphalt mixtures), and other companies from the asphalt sector have developed EMIPAV – a tool to analyse the impact of the road conditions on vehicle fuel consumption and emissions in Spain in order to implement effective measures and policies against climate change.

The study involves measurement of vehicle emissions on selected sections of pavements in poor condition and the surface characteristics of the pavements, including International Roughness Index (IRI) and texture and longitudinal friction. Once the pavement has been rehabilitated, the measurements are repeated to quantify how much greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced with the improvement. 

Challenges experienced/overcome in implementation

There are various challenges on the project as follows:

  • Introducing into the corporate culture of road administrations that pavement condition translates into environmental and social costs if action is not taken to improve pavement standards
  • Establishing a scale that links road surface condition to vehicle emissions
  • Developing technologies that allow constant road condition monitoring and incorporating results into maintenance work.

Other approaches that enabled investment

One of the objectives of the project is to incorporate concrete proposals into road maintenance policies that favour climate neutrality. Among them is setting minimum Key Performance Indicators to be met in road surface quality. These criteria could be incorporated as economic and technical requirements in road maintenance contracts. 


Note: This case study and all information within was submitted by the Ministry of Transport, Spain and ASEFMA in response to our global call for InfraTech case studies.

Last Updated: 19 October 2022