Life Cycle Assessment for Complete Streets: Framework and Pilot Studies

Life Cycle Assessment for Complete Streets: Framework and Pilot Studies

A multitude of goals have been stated for complete streets including non-motorized travel safety, reduced costs and environmental burdens, and creation of more livable communities, or in other words, the creation of livable, sustainable and economically vibrant communities. A number of performance measures have been proposed to address these goals. Environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) quantifies the energy, resource use, and emissions to air, water and land for a product or a system using a systems approach. One gap that has been identified in current LCA impact indicators is lack of socio-economic indicators to complement the existing environmental indicators. To address the gaps in performance metrics, this project developed a framework for LCA of complete streets projects, including the development of socio-economic impact indicators that also consider equity. The environmental impacts of complete streets were evaluated using LCA information for a range of complete street typologies. A parametric sensitivity analysis approach was performed to evaluate the impacts of different levels of mode choice and trip change. Another critical question addressed was what are different social goals (economic, health, safety, etc.) that should be considered and how to consider equity in performance metrics for social goals. This project lays the foundation for the creation of guidelines for social and environmental LCAs for complete streets.

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