Combining agent-based modeling and life cycle assessment for the evaluation of mobility policies
F. Querini, and E. Benetto
Environmental Science & Technology, vol. 49, no. 3, pp. 1744-1751, 2015
This article presents agent-based modeling (ABM) as a novel approach for consequential life cycle assessment (C-LCA) of large scale policies, more specifically mobility-related policies. The approach is validated at the Luxembourgish level (as a first case study). The agent-based model simulates the car market (sales, use, and dismantling) of the population of users in the period 2013–2020, following the implementation of different mobility policies and available electric vehicles. The resulting changes in the car fleet composition as well as the hourly uses of the vehicles are then used to derive consistent LCA results, representing the consequences of the policies. Policies will have significant environmental consequences: when using ReCiPe2008, we observe a decrease of global warming, fossil depletion, acidification, ozone depletion, and photochemical ozone formation and an increase of metal depletion, ionizing radiations, marine eutrophication, and particulate matter formation. The study clearly shows that the extrapolation of LCA results for the circulating fleet at national scale following the introduction of the policies from the LCAs of single vehicles by simple up-scaling (using hypothetical deployment scenarios) would be flawed. The inventory has to be directly conducted at full scale and to this aim, ABM is indeed a promising approach, as it allows identifying and quantifying emerging effects while modeling the Life Cycle Inventory of vehicles at microscale through the concept of agents.