Assessing Sustainability for Urban Transportation Modes: Conceptual Framework

There are multiple view points for assessing modes of transportation due to their important and pervasive impacts to society and economy, both positive and negative. However, a long-term sustainability-based comprehensive framework for the assessment of the impacts of any urban transportation mode does not exist. Our research efforts attempt to close this void in the state of the art starting with a framework that has its foundations in the over-arching principle of sustainability. The proposed sustainability framework acts as a filter that decomposes the elements of a transportation mode to reveal its sustainability dimensions. The sustainability filter is composed of four layers (environment, technology, energy, and economy), and three controllers (users, legal framework, and local restrictions). These sustainability dimensions form a Sustainability Decomposition Prism through which the fundamental components of vehicle and infrastructure are decomposed: manufacture of vehicles, construction of infrastructure, and energy (fuels and power), operation and maintenance for both vehicles and infrastructure. Sustainability analysis presents a number of advantages that include the comprehensive understanding of a system, the assessment of areas where changes can provide improvements, the identifications of weak areas that hamper sustainability and may necessitate technological research or policy intervention, and comparisons along standardized indicators of performance and impacts across competing modes, some of them available in a virtual stage of development.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: DVD
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 21p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 89th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers DVD

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01155155
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 10-2832
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Jan 25 2010 11:23AM