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California High Speed Resilience to Climate Change

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This LCA used data from a previous LCA done by Chester and Horvath (2012) on the proposed California High Speed Rail, and furthered the LCA to look into potential changes

This LCA used data from a previous LCA done by Chester and Horvath (2012) on the proposed California High Speed Rail, and furthered the LCA to look into potential changes that can be made to the proposed CAHSR to be more resilient to climate change. This LCA focused on the energy, cost, and GHG emissions associated with raising the track, adding fly ash to the concrete mixture in place of a percentage of cement, and running the HSR on solar electricity rather than the current electricity mix. Data was collected from a variety of sources including other LCAs, research studies, feasibility studies, and project information from companies, agencies, and researchers in order to determine what the cost, energy requirements, and associated GHG emissions would be for each of these changes. This data was then used to calculate results of cost, energy, and GHG emissions for the three different changes. The results show that the greatest source of cost is the raised track (Design/Construction Phase), and the greatest source of GHG emissions is the concrete (also Design/Construction Phase).

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Date Created
  • 2014-06-13

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Sustainability of intercity transportation infrastructure: assessing the energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of high-speed rail in the U.S

Description

In the U.S., high-speed passenger rail has recently become an active political topic, with multiple corridors currently being considered through federal and state level initiatives. One frequently cited benefit of

In the U.S., high-speed passenger rail has recently become an active political topic, with multiple corridors currently being considered through federal and state level initiatives. One frequently cited benefit of high-speed rail proposals is that they offer a transition to a more sustainable transportation system with reduced greenhouse gas emissions and fossil energy consumption. This study investigates the feasibility of high-speed rail development as a long-term greenhouse gas emission mitigation strategy while considering major uncertainties in the technological and operational characteristics of intercity travel. First, I develop a general model for evaluating the emissions impact of intercity travel modes. This model incorporates aspects of life-cycle assessment and technological forecasting. The model is then used to compare future scenarios of energy and greenhouse gas emissions associated with the development of high-speed rail and other intercity travel technologies. Three specific rail corridors are evaluated and policy guidelines are developed regarding the emissions impacts of these investments. The results suggest prioritizing high-speed rail investments on short, dense corridors with fewer stops. Likewise, less emphasis should be placed on larger investments that require long construction times due to risks associated with payback of embedded emissions as competing technology improves.

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  • 2011