Demonstrating the Life Cycle Assessment Framework for Complete Streets

“Complete streets” are those designed not only to accommodate private vehicles, but also to enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Complete streets can contribute to increased transportation choices, economic revitalization, improved return on infrastructure investments, livable communities, improved safety, improved public health through promotion of active transportation, greenhouse gas reductions, and improved air quality. In 2018, researchers developed a life cycle assessment (LCA) framework for complete streets to enable planners and policymakers to quantify environmental and social impacts over the life cycle of a complete streets project. In this follow-on project, the researchers applied the framework to three case studies covering urban, suburban and rural/suburban regions/conditions. The researchers assessed whether the LCA framework was useful in identifying whether a complete street delivered or, in the case of a proposed project, was likely to deliver, the intended performance and benefits, and the social and health conditions of the neighborhoods receiving the benefits.