Literature review of life cycle assessment for railway bridges: critical issues and framework

Guangli Du, Raid Karoumi

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
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Currently, the whole world is confronted with great challenges related to environmental issues. As a fundamental infrastructure in transport networks, railway bridges are responsible for numerous material and energy consumption through their life cycle, which in turn leads to significant environmental burdens. However, present management of railway bridge infrastructures is mainly focused on the technical and financial aspects, whereas the environmental assessment is rarely integrated. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is deemed as a systematic method for also assessing the environmental impact of products and systems, but its application in railway bridge infrastructures is rare. Very limited literature and research studies are available in this area. In order to incorporate the implementation of LCA into railway bridges and set new design criteria, this article performs an elaborate literature survey and presents current developments regarding the LCA implementation for railway bridges. Several critical issues are discussed and highlighted in detail. The discussion is focused on the methodology, practical operational issues and data collections. Finally, a systematic LCA framework for quantifying environmental impacts for railway bridges is introduced and interpreted as a potential guideline.
Original languageEnglish
JournalStructure & Infrastructure Engineering
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)277-294
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Life cycle assessment (LCA)
  • railway bridge
  • Sustainable construction
  • Environmental impact
  • Global warming potential (GWP)
  • Literature review


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