Publication Detail

Case Studies of Socio-Economic and Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Complete Streets


Research Report

National Center for Sustainable Transportation

Suggested Citation:
Ostovar, Maryam, Ali A. Butt, John T. Harvey, Zachary Ramalingam, Jesus Hernandez, Alissa Kendall (2022) Case Studies of Socio-Economic and Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Complete Streets. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-22-02

“Complete streets” is a design concept for primarily urban streets and intersections (existing and/or new) intended to encourage active transportation by bicyclists and pedestrians by making streets safer, convenient, and attractive for active transportation; motorized transportation and parking are also accommodated in the design concept. The social and economic performance indicators included in the social life cycle assessment (SLCA) framework that was used in this project provide a great deal of insight into specific and different potential benefits of a given complete streets project. The SLCA framework is based on five categories of concerns and 17 performance measures or indicators. The indicators were tested in the project and evaluated for final recommendations for use in future studies. The results are compared with the existing streets that were configured to be vehicle-centric. The case studies were solicited in more and less advantaged neighborhoods so that the framework could also be evaluated in different contexts. Use of the CalEnviroScreen tool from the California Environmental Protection Agency was also investigated to assess the exposure of neighborhoods and their vulnerability to environmental impacts in conjunction with the performance indicators when evaluating the potential benefits for disadvantaged neighborhoods (also called priority population areas). As was found in the preceding study, the primary environmental impacts come from the use stage, namely changes in vehicle travel and changes in vehicle speeds from complete street design features. Recommendations are made for dropping some indicators because of difficulties collecting data or interpreting the results, modifications of other indicators, and adding some new indicators to fill important gaps.

Key words: complete streets, social life cycle assessment, performance indicators