Road transportation is one of the most polluting as well as energy-intensive sectors, and requires planning policies capable to address at the same time several different environmental, social, and economic issues. Cost-benefit analyses are generally carried out with a major focus on fuelling and driving efficiency, whereas a systemic approach appears to be needed for a more comprehensive evaluation of the alternatives that may become available to address any issue, be it intended for either short-term or long-term spans. For instance, building up a new infrastructure might allow for savings in time or fuel per km, but this may require an equivalent or even higher socio-environmental investment. In this work, a short review is presented of some systemic studies on transportation that use the emergy synthesis methodology. A case study is also addressed, concerning recent important expansion works on the Apennine Mountains section of the Italian major highway A1. In particular, the analysis points out the role of time saving, since for a new or renewed transport infrastructure (and when comparing for example road to rail transport) saved time is likely to become crucial in justifying civil enterprises. Nevertheless, the present emergy synthesis and the teaching of H.T. Odum (Odum & Odum, 2001) warn us that such “luxury” highly depends on the abundance of available energy, which is less and less given for granted, whereas a systemic analysis approach may indicate different levels of criticality when oriented towards environmental and well-being issues.

On the Emergy accounting for the evaluation of road transport systems: an Italian case study

S. Cristiano
;
F. Gonella
2017-01-01

Abstract

Road transportation is one of the most polluting as well as energy-intensive sectors, and requires planning policies capable to address at the same time several different environmental, social, and economic issues. Cost-benefit analyses are generally carried out with a major focus on fuelling and driving efficiency, whereas a systemic approach appears to be needed for a more comprehensive evaluation of the alternatives that may become available to address any issue, be it intended for either short-term or long-term spans. For instance, building up a new infrastructure might allow for savings in time or fuel per km, but this may require an equivalent or even higher socio-environmental investment. In this work, a short review is presented of some systemic studies on transportation that use the emergy synthesis methodology. A case study is also addressed, concerning recent important expansion works on the Apennine Mountains section of the Italian major highway A1. In particular, the analysis points out the role of time saving, since for a new or renewed transport infrastructure (and when comparing for example road to rail transport) saved time is likely to become crucial in justifying civil enterprises. Nevertheless, the present emergy synthesis and the teaching of H.T. Odum (Odum & Odum, 2001) warn us that such “luxury” highly depends on the abundance of available energy, which is less and less given for granted, whereas a systemic analysis approach may indicate different levels of criticality when oriented towards environmental and well-being issues.
Energy futures, environment and well-being
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3694852
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