ACPA Concrete Pavement Progress - Fall 2022

CONCRETE PAVEMENT PROGRESS 4 WWW.ACPA.ORG THE 2022 MIDTERM ELECTIONS IN THE UNITED STATES ARE LARGELY BEHIND US AND THE RESULTS SURPRISED MANY. While recounts and runoffs may continue beyond November, the exit polling is showing that Generation Z voted with much higher turnout than anticipated—proving that when issues younger voters care about are on the ballot, they vote. In a recent article, Time magazine noted, “Gen Z power is only growing, and it will permanently change the dynamics of our elections. They comprise 10% of eligible voters already, a share that will increase with each passing day as more age into the electorate.” So, what does Gen Z care about? It may in part be the economy stupid, as James Carville famously said, but it’s not at the expense of social issues including climate change and equity. For transportation investment, as Generation Z ages and begins to ascend into positions that shape our world, it is likely that sustainability, resiliency, and equity continue to be part of guiding investment because it’s part of the lexicon of younger generations. In short, consumers and voters will continue to demand it. One may then think that concrete as a vital building material since ancient times is yesterday’s news when considering the future of surface transportation construction. This assumption is fundamentally wrong. Concrete paving strongly aligns with the objectives of battling climate change when the entire life of the pavement is considered. The challenge presented to global and local communities is how to build more durable structures using concrete, while minimizing the carbon emissions generated during manufacturing of cement. But as the Portland Cement Association’s (PCA) Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality points out, calling for more concrete pavement projects creates a safe, reliable, cost-effective, sustainable, and resilient infrastructure network that achieves a goal for net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050. Its about looking at the complete picture. Younger Generations Show Commitment to Sustainability and Resiliency Holistically, any discussion of sustainability and climate change should also include the relevance of concrete’s resilience. Sustainability and resilience work in tandem, with resilience forming the foundation for all three pillars of sustainability—economic, environmental, and societal demands. While sustainability deals with known events that can be quantified, resilience is the ability to anticipate and adapt to changing conditions and recover rapidly after a disruptive event. Unlike sustainability, resiliency deals with unknown events that have high negative impacts like loss due to flood, earthquake, etc. In a changing climate where extreme weather events are greater in frequency and intensity than in the past, resiliency is an important consideration. When properly maintained, concrete pavements can last decades and are often highly capable of withstanding natural disasters—what’s more sustainable than that? Concrete paving is wellpositioned to address the societal goals of the future as it is estimated that every $1 invested in more resilient infrastructure results in $4 of long-term benefit over the infrastructure’s expected life. As such, decision-makers and specifiers will be called on to design pavements that are sustainable and will not fail in the face of disastrous events. With all things considered, concrete, an ancient building material, is the material of the future. Laura O’Neill Kaumo President & CEO American Concrete Pavement Association Laura O’Neill Kaumo President & CEO American Concrete Pavement Association