Practical guidelines for Life Cycle Assessment applied to railways project

Abstract : Current transport systems are not likely to be sustainable, since energy resources may be less accessible, facing a rapidly growing demand and because of environmental constrains. In this context a great interest arose for sharing environmental assessment practices between infrastructures owners and researchers. For this present work a partnership between RFF and Ifsttar was decided to study environmental effects and energy consumption for railways life cycle. It paves the way to a full life cycle analysis (LCA) for environmental burdens of railway infrastructures and aims at identifying the best design practices at the project level related to environmental criteria. This LCA takes into account earthwork, railway structure and the operation phase, i.e., the analysis performed is based on the estimation of energy consumptions due to construction, maintenance and on the traffic. Results of this work could enhance practices for environment preservation for the plan of building 4000 kilometres of new high-speed railways, decided in the French National Transport infrastructure scheme. Applying LCA to the project phase is a rather new approach. It requires defining a global functional unit as a basic hypothesis of any study, different from the previous studies. Then, the lifecycle subsystems are successively investigated (construction, maintenance and use) to determine the best way for project Functional Unit definition and further assessment method application.
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Pierre Olivier Vandanjon, Alex Coiret, Bogdan Muresan, Amandine Fargier, Michel Dauvergne, et al.. Practical guidelines for Life Cycle Assessment applied to railways project. International Symposium Life Cycle Assessment and Construction 2012, Jul 2012, France. pp.144−153. ⟨hal-00960384⟩

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