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Life cycle assessment as decision-support in choice of road corridor: case study and stakeholder perspectives
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Sustainability Assessment and Management.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0231-7111
IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.
University of Agder, Norway.
Norweigian University of Science and Technology.
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The possibilities to influence environmental impacts during the road life cycle are greatest in early planning; however, the lack of project specific data makes it difficult to use life cycle assessment as decision-support. This paper examines how life cycle assessment can be used to support the choice of road corridor, considering the practical prerequisit of simplicity and usefulness of results for decision-making. The model LICCER was used to quantify life cycle impacts of road corridors in a construction project in Sweden. Availability of input data and usefulness of results was discussed with road authorities in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Traffic operation contributed most to life cycle impacts in all road corridors, thus the shortest construction alternative had the lowest life cycle impacts. However, the shortest alternative had the highest infrastructure related impacts due to large quantities of earthworks. Parameters that had the highest influence on results were those that affected the impacts of traffic, earthworks, and pavement. While workshop participants agreed that project specific data are scarce and uncertain in early planning, they also believed that planners can make satisfactory estimations and that the model output is useful to support the choice of road corridor. To balance simplicity and usefulness of results, data collection should focus on parameters that have high contribution to environmental impacts, that differentiate the road corridors, and are not proportional to the road length. To implement life cycle assessment in practice, models should preferably include nation specific data approved by the national road authority.

National Category
Other Natural Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-239599OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-239599DiVA, id: diva2:1266355
Note

QC 20181213

Available from: 2018-11-27 Created: 2018-11-27 Last updated: 2018-12-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Life cycle assessment in early planning of transport systems: Decision support at project and network levels
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Life cycle assessment in early planning of transport systems: Decision support at project and network levels
2018 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The Swedish Climate Policy Framework implies that the Swedish transport sector must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to nearly zero by 2045. Previous studies have – using life cycle assessment – shown that indirect greenhouse gas emissions from the vehicle and infrastructure life cycle are significant and should be considered in transport policy and planning of transport systems, in addition to direct emissions of vehicle operation.

The aim of this thesis is to contribute with knowledge on climate impact and primary energy use of transport systems for decision-support in early planning at project and network levels, and evaluate and demonstrate how life cycle climate impact and primary energy use can be assessed in early planning. This thesis includes three papers that contribute to achieving this aim. Paper I developed a methodological approach to assess annual climate impact and primary energy use of Swedish road, rail, air, and sea transport infrastructure at a network level. Paper II then expanded this system to the assessment of the Swedish transport system at a network level, including national and international freight and passenger transport by road, rail, air, and sea. At the project level, Paper III examined how LCA can be used as decision-support in choice of road corridor, considering the practical prerequisite of data availability in early planning and usefulness of results in the decision-making process.

Paper I showed that the annual climate impact of Swedish transport infrastructure is around 3 million tonnes CO2 equivalents and that the annual primary energy use is around 27 TWh. Road infrastructure accounted for the largest proportion of impacts – around 70% of the climate impact and around 80% of the energy use. Paper II showed that the annual climate impact of the Swedish transport system was around 44 million tonnes CO2 equivalents and the primary energy use was around 178 TWh. Road transport and aviation together accounted for 90% of the climate impact and primary energy use. Indirect impacts were significant, especially for road and rail transport, accounting for 30% of the total climate impact and primary energy use. Paper III found that (1) collection of project specific data should focus on parameters that differentiate the road corridors, that can be influenced in early planning, and that are not directly related to the road length and (2) life cycle assessment based models used in early planning should include nation specific generic data approved by the national road authority. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm, Sweden: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2018
Series
TRITA-ABE-DLT ; 1826
National Category
Other Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-239600 (URN)978-91-7873-013-1 (ISBN)
Presentation
2018-12-20, Pacific, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Teknikringen 10B, Stockholm, Sweden, 10:00 (Swedish)
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Note

QC 20181128

Available from: 2018-11-28 Created: 2018-11-27 Last updated: 2018-11-28Bibliographically approved

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