Benchmarking environmental and economic impacts from the HSR networks considering life cycle perspectives

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  • University of California, Berkeley


This paper unprecedentedly benchmarks the environmental and economic impacts of notable High-speed rail (HSR) networks. The goals are to (i) point out the environmental impacts from the HSR networks and (ii) evaluate the whole life cycle cost of HSR systems. The emphasis of this study is placed on five HSR networks from five countries to depict the effectiveness of sustainable transport policies in each particular country. Both life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle cost (LCC) models are adopted for a new critical framework capable of benchmarking the lifecycle sustainability of HSR networks. The new findings exhibit that CRC's system is the leader in energy-saving, who consumes only 67.55 GJ/km yearly, and emits lowest CO2 at an amount of 77,532.32 tCO2/km annually. These impressive results are stemmed from key enabling policies related to eco-friendly rolling stock design, sustainable construction, and green energy grids. With respect to the LCC analysis, the SCNF network takes advantage in the economy of scale and unleashes the lowest cost among other networks. It estimates that the SNCF network spends approximately 1,990,599.51 £/km annually at a % discount rate. The implications of these finding are discussed that the initial project has a high chance to be successful on economic than the late project due to an influence of the time value of money.


Original languageEnglish
Article number106608
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Impact Assessment Review
Early online date24 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021


  • High-speed rail (HSR), Environmental impacts, Economic impacts, Life cycle cost (LCC), Life cycle assessment (LCA)