Life Cycle Assessment Framework of Traffic Systems Based on Microscopic Simulation
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Life Cycle Assessment Framework of Traffic Systems Based on Microscopic Simulation

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    Transportation is an important infrastructure process needed in many steps of the supply chain of any product. Transportation-associated global impacts are therefore important factor influencing the sustainability of any product cycle. Moreover, traffic integrates throughout different product cycles combining transportation of raw materials and products with passenger transport. Traffic improvement is needed to accommodate growing transportation demands of product-cycles while mitigating associated environmental, social and economic impacts. Emissions from by road transportation depend on traffic conditions to greater extent compared to other means of transportation. Emissions from road transportation depend on phased operation of a vehicle mix that is affected by traffic and road conditions.

    This report describe integrated modeling framework to assist environmental impacts of traffic systems in by road transportation. The methodology can be optimally used to evaluate impacts of new development and to justify the needs for smart traffic technologies and more resilient transportation infrastructure. The frame work integrates three modeling tools: microscopic traffic simulation software (VISSIM), Motor Vehicle Emission Simulator (MOVES) and a new TRACI-based Traffic Life Cycle Assessment tool (T2LCA). The new T2LCA is based on the EPA-TRACI environmental assessment protocol. TRACI protocol was developed as a Tool for the Reduction and Assessment of Chemical and Other Environmental Impact.

    The framework was organized by the National Institute for Advanced Transportation Technology (NIATT) – University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho. The work was developed in two phases to integrate with MOVES Input-Output. In phase1, NIATT developed the protocol to interface VISSIM with MOVES generating its input from traffic microscopic simulation. In phase 2, NIATT contracted EAST-Environment Automated Sustainable Technologies, Pullman, WA, to develop the T2LCA framework interfacing with MOVES’ output to evaluate global LCA impacts of the simulated traffic system. The integrated framework was then tested by a case study simulating the traffic of small-to-mid sized city (Moscow-Idaho). Global impacts of the city optimized traffic were compared with current (base condition) traffic to evaluate the environmental cost savings associated with traffic improvements.

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