Life cycle sustainability assessment of a light rail transit system: Integration of environmental, economic, and social impacts


INTEGRATED ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT AND MANAGEMENT, vol.17, no.5, pp.1070-1082, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 17 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/ieam.4428
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, PASCAL, Aerospace Database, Aqualine, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Communication Abstracts, EMBASE, Environment Index, Greenfile, MEDLINE, Metadex, Pollution Abstracts, Veterinary Science Database, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.1070-1082
  • Keywords: Life cycle assessment, Life cycle cost, Light rail transit system, Social life cycle, Sustainable urban transportation, HIGH-SPEED RAIL, WASTE MANAGEMENT, PASSENGER TRANSPORT, GAS, CONSTRUCTION, HYBRID, COST
  • Abdullah Gül University Affiliated: Yes


The transition toward sustainable urban transportation has gained importance in recent decades. However, urban transportation has not been addressed for all dimensions of sustainability. This study presents a life cycle sustainability assessment of a light rail transit system in Kayseri, Turkey, by integrating environmental, economic, and social aspects. The sustainability performance of the light rail transit system is evaluated using a cradle-to-grave approach to assess three aspects of sustainability. For the environmental evaluation, a life cycle assessment was applied using SimaPro 8.4.1 PhD version based on ISO 14040 and 14044. The method, which includes nine environmental impact categories, was employed to assess the environmental performance of the light rail transit system with a functional unit of 1 passenger-km. For the economic assessment, life cycle costing was utilized with the functional unit of USD for 1 passenger-km. A social life cycle assessment was applied to assess the social performance of the light rail transit system based on guidelines published by the United Nations Environment Programme in collaboration with the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. For the determination of social impacts, 11 subcategories and 18 social indicators were selected. The results showed that the global warming potential and abiotic depletion potential of the light rail system per passenger-km were 2.4E - 02 kg CO2 eq. and 2.7E - 01 MJ, respectively, with a service life of 50 years. The total life cycle cost of the light rail system was calculated as 0.046 USD for 1 passenger-km. The results also revealed that the main contributor to the total life cycle cost was energy cost, with 92% (2.88E + 08 USD) of the total cost. In the social performance evaluation, it is found that the industry performs well for society, the local community, and workers but has a weaker social performance for the consumer due to a weak feedback mechanism. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2021;00:1-13. (c) 2021 SETAC