It is important that decisions in transport planning are based on comprehensive information regarding environmental impacts from infrastructure. Current practise does however show that there is a lack of life-cycle considerations of energy use and contributions to climate change in the process of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in the early stages of transport planning.
Recent life-cycle assessments of road infrastructure have mostly concentrated on the material level of analysis considering only specific parts of road transport. They are therefore often less suitable for earlier stages of transport planning where site-dependent aspects should be considered, such as the choice between different types of road infrastructure: tunnels, bridges or plain roads.
The aim of this study is to develop an easy to use model including a framework and guidelines, based on existing tools and methodologies for Life Cycle Assessment of road infrastructure that can be used within an EIA process in the early stage of transport planning.
The model includes site-dependent aspects of the planning such as the choice of a plain road, bridge or tunnel. The life-cycle model will focus on energy use and contribution to climate change. By using an LCA model there will however be an option to include also other environmental impacts.
The knowledge from this project will be a useful input in Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) that considers the whole transportation system (including land, water and air transport), as it will give a differentiated information on the energy use (or GHG emissions) to be expected from road constructions. Further, the knowledge obtained from the LCA model will imply a basis for more detailed assessments on how to design the specific road, as the hotspots of the system will be identified.
LICCER is a model to assess life cycle energy and greenhouse gas emissions of road infrastructure. The results can be used in the early stage of the transport planning process, when the decision is made from a few alternatives to one preferred road corridor. The model user in principle only needs to provide the type of details typically known in this stage (i.e. type, length and cross-section geometry of road elements). The LICCER-model next calculates, with the help of default values, the annual cumulative energy (consumption and greenhouse gas emissions) of the involved road corridor alternatives.