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Title: A Thermodynamic, environmental and material flow analysis of the Italian highway and railway transport systems
Authors: Federici, Mirco
Ulgiati, S
Basosi, Riccardo 
Keywords: Energy analysis of transport; Highway,; Railway; HST
Issue Date: 2008
Project: None 
Journal: ENERGY
The goal of this work is to provide a multi-method multi-scale comparative picture of selected terrestrial transport modalities. This isachieved by investigating the Italian transportation system by means of four different evaluation methods: material flow accounting(MFA), embodied energy analysis (EEA), exergy analysis (EXA) and emergy synthesis (ES). The case study is the main Italiantransportation infrastructure, composed by highways, railways, and high-speed railways (high-speed trains, HST) sub-systemssupporting both passengers and freight transport. All the analyses have been performed based on a common database of material, labor,energy and fuel input flows used in the construction, maintenance and yearly use of roads, railways and vehicles. Specific matter andenergy intensities of both passenger and freight transportation services were calculated factors affecting results as well as strength andweakness points of each transportation modality were also stressed. Results pointed out that the most important factors in determiningthe acceptability of a transportation system are not only the specific fuel consumption and the energy and material costs of vehicles, as itis common belief, but also the energy and material costs for infrastructure construction as well as its intensity of use (with special focuson load factor of vehicles). The latter become the dominant factors in HST modality, due to technological and safety reasons that requirehigh energy-cost materials and low intensity of traffic. This translates into very high thermodynamic and environmental costs forpassenger and freight transported, among which an embodied energy demand up to 1.44 MJ/p-km and 3.09 MJ/t-km, respectively.
ISSN: 0360-5442
DOI: 10.1016/
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