WIT Press

A Life Cycle Assessment In The Service Sector: The Case Of Bus And Private Transportation


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WIT Press


Y. Barba-Gutiérrez, P. L. González-Torre & B. González


Many industrial strategies have been developed in order to promote manufacturers’ environmental responsibility and consumer’s consciousness over the few last decades. However, not many of these efforts have involved the service industries. Information about environmental performance of services is becoming increasingly important nowadays. One of the most extensive tools used to assess the environmental impact of a product, process or activity is LCA (life cycle assessment). It is an iterative process for assessing the consumption of resources, environmental impacts and waste generation associated with the whole life cycle. This methodology has been standardised by different institutions (CEN, ISO and SETAC), and has been applied successfully in a great number of companies. This paper presents a LCA applied to the passengers’ transportation service using SIMAPRO 5.1, comparing the impacts of using public road transport with those associated with the use of particular cars for a regional short-distance trajectory. To apply it, we must consider the typical stages identified in the performance of a service: service preparation, service production and consumption, which are simultaneous, and activities after the service (mainly maintenance activities). To sum up, this study helps to support those theories that promote the use of public transport against private. This solution attempts to improve traffic between cities and to improve our environment. In this paper we confirm that cars cause a greater environmental impact than buses on a global scale by making a precise evaluation of the comparatives figures. On the other hand, areas where the bus has a more negative impact can be improved using good environmental practices, for example, recycling materials or components. Keywords: life cycle assessment, services, road transportation, environmental impact.


life cycle assessment, services, road transportation, environmental impact.