Influence of Vehicle Type and Road Category on Natural Resource Consumption in Road Transport

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - vehicle, planning - environmental impact, land use - impacts, land use - planning, policy - environment, mode - bike


Transportation modes, Roads, Road transportation, Resources, Natural resources, Motor vehicles, Modes, Life cycle planning, Life cycle analysis, Highway transportation, Environmental impacts, Environmental effects, Energy utilization, Energy consumption, Earth resources, Automotive vehicles


This study calculates the natural resource use of road transport for different road categories and for different vehicle types. Material inputs per service are determined as the life cycle wide consumption of materials by the road and vehicles, and set against person-kilometres and ton-kilometres transported. If the material input of the infrastructure is allocated to the users according to traffic volume, the material input per service values for abiotic resources and for water are much higher for cars than for bus traffic. The material inputs per service unit for air is significantly lower for buses than for cars. For bicycles, abiotic natural resource consumption is between that for cars and buses, while water consumption is in most instances the highest and air consumption the lowest for the modes studied. The material input per service values for the full trailer are significantly lower than for other goods vehicles. The material inputs per service value for air is significantly higher in the case of vans. If the allocation of road infrastructure use is done by gross vehicle weight, the material input per service values for abiotic resources and water of buses and heavy lorries rise.


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