China has built the world’s largest High Speed Rail (HSR) network. Its environmental impacts have been examined by the means of life cycle assessment (LCA) which describes the whole picture of the HSR system instead of single stages, with a case study for the high-speed railway that links Beijing and Shanghai. The research employs the China-specific life cycle inventory database Chinese Core Life Cycle Database (CLCD). Vehicle operation dominates most impact categories, while vehicle manufacturing/maintenance/disposal and infrastructure construction contribute mostly to mineral consumption (43% and 38%) and organic compounds in water (54% for infrastructure construction). Several scenarios are developed to explore effects of changes in HSR development, utilization, electricity mix, and infrastructure planning and construction. Suggestions are provided for improving the life cycle environmental performance of China’s HSR systems.
CSS Publication Number:
High Speed Rail
Life Cycle Assessment
Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment
Yue, Ye, Tao Wang, Sai Liang, Jie Yang, Ping Hou, Shen Qu, Jun Zhou, Xiaoping Jia, Hongtao Wang and Ming Xu. (2015) “Life cycle assessment of high speed rail in China.” Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment. 41: 367-376.