Design of an Environmental Impact Quantification System for Public Transportation in London


Ford Team: Yamama Raza, Erika Rodriguez, Michelle Guiney, Jasmin Shrestha

2005-2006: In collaboration with Ford Motor Company, this student team designed a system to quantify environmental impact of public transportation in London.  The project originated from Ford’s desire to diversify its business strategy, beyond its present scope as a vehicle manufacturer, and incorporate environmental concern in its operation in order to remain competitive in the market.

The environmental effects of transportation routes can be evaluated using a life cycle analysis (LCA), which quantifies not only the tailpipe emissions, but also considers the manufacture, lifetime, and recycling of the vehicles and the raw materials that go into vehicles.  The team designed an environmental evaluation process incorporating GEMIS, Global Emissions Model for Integrated Systems, a publicly available life cycle analysis tool and database. The team used four environmental indicators: Acidification Potential, Global Warming Potential, Cumulative Energy Requirement, and Toxicity Index. Combining data from GEMIS with London’s traffic routes and congestion patterns, the team’s model can predict the environmental effects for multiple routes and modes of transportation.

This method of analysis can inform users about the comparative environmental effects of transportation and can influence their decision-making.  Additionally, Ford Motor Company may use the model to set a benchmark for reducing the environmental impact of vehicles they manufacture.