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Geo-environmental considerations in transport infrastructure planning
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Land and Water Resources Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3614-671X
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Transport infrastructure constitutes one of the key factors to a country’s economic growth. Investment in new transport infrastructure might cause potential environmental impacts, and if a project has several alternative corridors open for suggestion then each alternative corridor will have a different impact on the environment. The European Commission has stated that the natural resources are important to the quality of life. Therefore, the efficient use of resources will be a key towards meeting future climate change and reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This implies that in an evergrowing global society the resource efficiency as well as the choice of transport infrastructure corridor becomes even more important to consider. The aim of this research project was to contribute to early transport infrastructure planning by the development of methods for and implementation of easy understandable geological criteria and models for decision support. Moreover, the intention was to assess how geological information can be developed and extracted from existing spatial data and coupled with other areas of interest, such as ecology and life cycle assessment. It has previously been established that geological information plays an important role in transport infrastructure planning, as the geological characteristics of the proposed area as well as the possibilities of material use influences the project. Therefore, in order to couple geological information for early transport infrastructure planning, four studies (Paper I-IV) were undertaken where methods were developed and tested for the inclusion of geological information. The first study (Paper I) demonstate how optional road corridors could be evaluated using geological information of soil thickness, soil type and rock outcrops, bedrock quality and slope in combination with ecological information. The second study (Paper II) shows how geological information of soil thickness and stratigraphy can be combined with life cycle assessments (LCA) to assess the corresponding greenhouse gas emission and energy use for the proposed road corridors. The difficulty of using expert knowledge for susceptibility assessment of natural hazards, i.e. flooding, landslide and debris flow, for early transport infrastructure planning was presented in the third study (Paper III). In this study the expert knowledge was used in a multi-criteria analysis where the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) was chosen as a decision rule. This decision rule was compared to the decision rule weighted linear combination (WLC) using two different schemes of weighting. In all the mentioned studies the importance of soil thickness information was highlighted. Therefore, the fourth and final study (Paper IV) presented a new methodology for modelling the soil thickness in areas where data is sparse. A simplified regolith model (SRM) was developed in order to estimate the regolith thickness, i.e. soil thickness, for previously glaciate terrain with a high frequency of rock outcrops. SRM was based on a digital elevation model (DEM) and an optimized search algorithm. The methods developed in order to couple geological information with other areas of interest is a tentative step towards an earlier geo-environmental planning process. However, the methods need to be tested in other areas with different geological conditions. The combination of geological information in GIS with MCA enabled the integration of knowledge for decision making; it also allowed influencing the importance between various aspects of geological information as well as the importance between geological information and other fields of interest, such as ecology, through the selected weighting schemes. The results showed that synergies exist between ecology and geology, where important geological considerations could also have positive effects on ecological consideration. Soil thickness was very important for GHG emission and energy whereas stratigraphical knowledge had a minor influence. When using expert knowledge the consistency in the expert judgements also needs to be considered. It was shown that experts tended to be inconsistent in their judgements, and that some consistency could be reached if the judgements were aggregated instead of used separately. The results also showed that the developed SRM had relatively accurate results for data sparse areas, and that this model could be used in several projects where the knowledge of soil thickness is important but lacking. It was concluded that geological information should be considered. By using GIS and MCA it is possible to evaluate different aspects of geological information in order to improve decision making.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2016. , 44 p.
Series
TRITA-LWR. PHD, ISSN 1650-8602 ; 2016:07
Series
TRITA-LWR PHD, ISSN 1650-8602 ; 2016:07
Keyword [en]
Roads, Railways, Geology, GIS, Decision support, Modelling
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Land and Water Resources Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-192918ISBN: 978-91-7729-124-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-192918DiVA: diva2:973817
Public defence
2016-10-14, Kollegiesalen, Brinellvägen 8, Stockholm, 14:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Environmental assessment of road geology and ecology in a system perspective
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 242-2009-1285, 2014 - 754
Available from: 2016-09-23 Created: 2016-09-22 Last updated: 2016-09-23Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Design and evaluation of railway corridors based on spatial ecological and geological criteria
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2016 (English)In: Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, ISSN 1361-9209, E-ISSN 1879-2340, Vol. 46, 207-228 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Transport infrastructure is closely linked to several sustainability issues of main policy relevance, and significant impacts on biodiversity as well as resource use and construction costs relate to the corridor design and location in the landscape. The aim of this study was to develop methods for railway corridor planning, in which corridor design and location would be based on important ecological and geological sustainability criteria. The method, an MCA framework including both spatial and non-spatial MCA, was demonstrated on a railway planning proposition in an urbanising area north of Stockholm, Sweden. Alternative spatial alignments for 6 railway corridors were derived based on criteria representing biodiversity, resource efficiency and costs, developed from ecological and geological knowledge, data and models. The method identified a study area specific positive synergy between ecological and geological sustainability criteria. The evaluation part of the methodology could furthermore identify uncertainties in the input data and assumptions and conflicts between ecological criteria. In order to arrive at a well-informed decision support system, the criteria as well as the decision rules employed could be further elaborated. Other relevant sustainability issues would also need to be integrated, such as cultural landscapes, recreation, and other ecosystem services. Still, arriving at a corridor design informed by the ecological and geological conditions in the planned area, as demonstrated by this study, could improve the sustainability performance of transport infrastructure planning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2016
Keyword
MCA, Planning, Decision support, Biodiversity, EIA, SEA
National Category
Environmental Analysis and Construction Information Technology
Research subject
Land and Water Resources Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-176397 (URN)10.1016/j.trd.2016.03.012 (DOI)000377829900016 ()2-s2.0-84962791640 (Scopus ID)
Projects
GESP
Funder
Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning, 242-2009-1285StandUp
Note

QC 20160718

Available from: 2015-11-03 Created: 2015-11-03 Last updated: 2017-07-23Bibliographically approved
2. Life cycle assessment in road infrastructure planning using spatial geological data
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Keyword
LCA, Road, Geology, GIS, Energy, GHG emissions
National Category
Environmental Analysis and Construction Information Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-184162 (URN)
Note

NQC 201604

Available from: 2016-03-29 Created: 2016-03-29 Last updated: 2016-09-22Bibliographically approved
3. Natural hazard susceptibility assessment for road planning using spatial multi-criteria analysis
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Inadequate infrastructural networks can be detrimental to a society if transport between locations becomes hindered or delayed, especially due to natural hazards which are more difficult to control. Thus determining natural hazard susceptible areas and incorporating them in the initial planning process, may reduce infrastructural damages in the long run. The objective of this study was to evaluate the usefulness of expert judgements for assessing natural hazard susceptibility through a spatial multi-criteria analysis (SMCA) approach using hydrological, geological and land use factors. To utilize SMCA for decision support, an analytic hierarchy process (AHP) was adopted where expert judgements were evaluated individually and in an aggregated manner. The estimates of susceptible areas were then compared with the methods Weighted linear combination (WLC) using equal weights and Factor interaction method (FIM). Results showed that inundation received the highest percentage of susceptibility. Using expert judgement showed to perform almost same as Equal weighting where the difference (i.e. average) in susceptibility between the two for inundation was around 4%. Results also showed that downscaling could negatively affect the susceptibility assessment and be highly misleading. Susceptibility assessment through SMCA is useful for decision support in early road planning despite its limitation to selection and use of decision rule and criteria. A natural hazard SMCA could be used to indicate areas where more investigations need to be undertaken from a natural hazard point of view, and to identify areas thought to have higher susceptibility along existing roads where mitigation measures could be targeted after in-situ investigations.

Keyword
Expert judgment, Analytic Hierarchy Process, Transportation planning, Decision support, SMCA
National Category
Environmental Analysis and Construction Information Technology
Research subject
Land and Water Resources Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-192917 (URN)
Projects
Environmental assessment of road geology and ecology in a system perspective
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas
Note

QC 20160923

Available from: 2016-09-22 Created: 2016-09-22 Last updated: 2016-09-23Bibliographically approved
4. Comparison of methods for predicting regolith thickness in previously glaciated terrain, Stockholm, Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Comparison of methods for predicting regolith thickness in previously glaciated terrain, Stockholm, Sweden
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2014 (English)In: Geoderma, ISSN 0016-7061, E-ISSN 1872-6259, Vol. 226, 116-129 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Knowledge about regolith thickness is important in several civil and environmental engineering fields. However, subsurface characteristics such as regolith thickness are difficult to determine through surface investigations and maps at regional scales. This paper presents four methods for estimating regolith thickness in a GIS environment for previously glaciated terrain with high frequency of rock outcrops: linear regression (LR) using topographical covariates; inverse distance weighting (IOW) interpolation of regolith thickness point data from well drillings: a trigonometrical approach (TA) developed for this study which uses outcrop slopes and distance between outcrops; and a simplified regolith model (SRM). The SRM is a model modified from TA which estimates the regolith thickness based on outcrops, slopes and the distance to outcrops in eight directions. The methods were compared for three study areas (Tyreso, Vallentuna and Osteraker) in Stockholm County, Sweden. Based on the results in this paper, LR proved to be the most accurate method for regolith thickness estimation, measured through root mean square error values. Whereas IDW was the most accurate method in terms of error within 2 m, which would make it a suitable model if and when large datasets of regolith point data are available. When drilling data is scarce then both the TA and SRM methods can be used for regolith estimations. However, the SRM proved to be a more accurate regolith thickness model compared to TA. SRM shows promising results and could be used at a preliminary stage in engineering projects where little or no data is available prior to detailed field investigations in previously glaciated terrain.

National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-147399 (URN)10.1016/j.geoderma.2014.03.003 (DOI)000336467500013 ()2-s2.0-84897441618 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Formas, 2009-1285
Note

QC 20140702

Available from: 2014-07-02 Created: 2014-06-27 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved

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