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Life cycle assessment in road infrastructure planning using spatial geological data
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Land and Water Resources Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3614-671X
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Environmental Strategies Research (fms).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5535-6368
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Land and Water Resources Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1640-8946
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Keyword [en]
LCA, Road, Geology, GIS, Energy, GHG emissions
National Category
Environmental Analysis and Construction Information Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-184162OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-184162DiVA: diva2:915204
Note

NQC 201604

Available from: 2016-03-29 Created: 2016-03-29 Last updated: 2016-09-22Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Consideration of life cycle energy use and greenhouse gas emissions for improved road infrastructure planning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Consideration of life cycle energy use and greenhouse gas emissions for improved road infrastructure planning
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Global warming is one of the biggest challenges of our society. The road transport sector is responsible for a big share of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, which are considered to be the dominant cause of global warming. Although most of those emissions are associated with traffic operation, road infrastructure should not be ignored, as it involves high consumption of energy and materials during a long lifetime.

The aim of my research was to contribute to improved road infrastructure planning by developing methods and models to include a life cycle perspective. In order to reach the aim, GHG emissions and energy use at different life cycle stages of road infrastructure were assessed in three case studies using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). These case studies were also used for development of methodology for LCA of road infrastructure. I have also investigated the coupling of LCA with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and the possibility to integrate LCA into Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA).

The results of the first case study indicated that operation of the tunnel (mainly, lighting and ventilation) has the largest contribution in terms of energy use and GHG emissions throughout its life cycle. The second case study identified the main hotspots and compared two methods for asphalt recycling and asphalt reuse. The results of the third case study indicated that due to the dominant contribution of traffic to the total impact of the road transport system, the difference in road length plays a major role in choice of road alternatives during early planning of road infrastructure. However, infrastructure should not be neglected, especially in the case of similar lengths of road alternatives, for roads with low volumes of traffic or when they include bridges or tunnels.

This thesis contributed in terms of foreground and background data collection for further LCA studies of road infrastructure. Preliminary Bill of Quantities (BOQ) was identified and used as a source for site-specific data collection. A new approach was developed and tested for using geological data in a GIS environment as a data source on earthworks for LCA. Moreover, this thesis demonstrated three possible ways for integrating LCA in early stages of road infrastructure planning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2016. 44 p.
Series
, TRITA‐INFRA‐FMS‐PHD, 2016:1
Keyword
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, energy use, life cycle assessment (LCA), road infrastructure planning
National Category
Environmental Analysis and Construction Information Technology
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-184163 (URN)978‐91‐7595‐912‐2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-04-22, Sal D3, Lindstedtsvägen 5, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20160329

Available from: 2016-03-29 Created: 2016-03-29 Last updated: 2016-06-14Bibliographically approved
2. Geo-environmental considerations in transport infrastructure planning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Geo-environmental considerations in transport infrastructure planning
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Transport infrastructure constitutes one of the key factors to a country’s economic growth. Investment in new transport infrastructure might cause potential environmental impacts, and if a project has several alternative corridors open for suggestion then each alternative corridor will have a different impact on the environment. The European Commission has stated that the natural resources are important to the quality of life. Therefore, the efficient use of resources will be a key towards meeting future climate change and reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This implies that in an evergrowing global society the resource efficiency as well as the choice of transport infrastructure corridor becomes even more important to consider. The aim of this research project was to contribute to early transport infrastructure planning by the development of methods for and implementation of easy understandable geological criteria and models for decision support. Moreover, the intention was to assess how geological information can be developed and extracted from existing spatial data and coupled with other areas of interest, such as ecology and life cycle assessment. It has previously been established that geological information plays an important role in transport infrastructure planning, as the geological characteristics of the proposed area as well as the possibilities of material use influences the project. Therefore, in order to couple geological information for early transport infrastructure planning, four studies (Paper I-IV) were undertaken where methods were developed and tested for the inclusion of geological information. The first study (Paper I) demonstate how optional road corridors could be evaluated using geological information of soil thickness, soil type and rock outcrops, bedrock quality and slope in combination with ecological information. The second study (Paper II) shows how geological information of soil thickness and stratigraphy can be combined with life cycle assessments (LCA) to assess the corresponding greenhouse gas emission and energy use for the proposed road corridors. The difficulty of using expert knowledge for susceptibility assessment of natural hazards, i.e. flooding, landslide and debris flow, for early transport infrastructure planning was presented in the third study (Paper III). In this study the expert knowledge was used in a multi-criteria analysis where the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) was chosen as a decision rule. This decision rule was compared to the decision rule weighted linear combination (WLC) using two different schemes of weighting. In all the mentioned studies the importance of soil thickness information was highlighted. Therefore, the fourth and final study (Paper IV) presented a new methodology for modelling the soil thickness in areas where data is sparse. A simplified regolith model (SRM) was developed in order to estimate the regolith thickness, i.e. soil thickness, for previously glaciate terrain with a high frequency of rock outcrops. SRM was based on a digital elevation model (DEM) and an optimized search algorithm. The methods developed in order to couple geological information with other areas of interest is a tentative step towards an earlier geo-environmental planning process. However, the methods need to be tested in other areas with different geological conditions. The combination of geological information in GIS with MCA enabled the integration of knowledge for decision making; it also allowed influencing the importance between various aspects of geological information as well as the importance between geological information and other fields of interest, such as ecology, through the selected weighting schemes. The results showed that synergies exist between ecology and geology, where important geological considerations could also have positive effects on ecological consideration. Soil thickness was very important for GHG emission and energy whereas stratigraphical knowledge had a minor influence. When using expert knowledge the consistency in the expert judgements also needs to be considered. It was shown that experts tended to be inconsistent in their judgements, and that some consistency could be reached if the judgements were aggregated instead of used separately. The results also showed that the developed SRM had relatively accurate results for data sparse areas, and that this model could be used in several projects where the knowledge of soil thickness is important but lacking. It was concluded that geological information should be considered. By using GIS and MCA it is possible to evaluate different aspects of geological information in order to improve decision making.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2016. 44 p.
Series
TRITA-LWR. PHD, ISSN 1650-8602 ; 2016:07
Series
, TRITA-LWR PHD, ISSN 1650-8602 ; 2016:07
Keyword
Roads, Railways, Geology, GIS, Decision support, Modelling
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Land and Water Resources Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-192918 (URN)978-91-7729-124-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-10-14, Kollegiesalen, Brinellvägen 8, Stockholm, 14:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Environmental assessment of road geology and ecology in a system perspective
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 242-2009-1285, 2014 - 754
Available from: 2016-09-23 Created: 2016-09-22 Last updated: 2016-09-23Bibliographically approved

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