Bringing transparency to environmental impacts of transport- LIPASTO transport emission database

Heidi Auvinen

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientific


    Environmental data, such as emission factors and energy consumption figures, are needed in order to assess the environmental burdens caused by transport. Firstly, the data enables quantification of the environmental impacts, useful for example when analysing the role of transports in the life cycle of a consumer product. Secondly, environmental information is required for making comparisons, for example when managing complex logistics chains and choosing the means and mode of transport. The demand and use of environmental data concerning transport is growing, and the user group spreads all the way from individual citizens and logistics service providers to top-level decision-makers. A number of databases, calculation methods and tools have been set up, but in absence of a harmonised and standardised approach, results from different sources may be incomparable and lead to misguided conclusions. The LIPASTO transport emission database by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is one of the most comprehensive sources to offer unbiased, free of charge emission factors and energy consumption figures for all four modes: road, rail, waterborne and air transport. While the main goal and focus is to cover the Finnish transport system, including international passenger and goods transport, a great part of the data applies to all Europe. The updates and further developments of the database will be done in accordance with on-going standardisation work concerning energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in relation to transport services (CEN/TC 320 WG10). Another initiative in the field to involve the LIPASTO database is an up-coming European Commission funded research project COFRET (Carbon footprint of freight transport). The COFRET project aims at establishing a concrete methodology to determine the carbon footprint along complex logistics chains. Furthermore, the LIPASTO emission database figures are currently being converted into a format that enables them to be incorporated into the life cycle assessment (LCA) software KCL-ECO. This paper presents the LIPASTO unit emission database and describes how it tackles some of the problematic issues in the field. These include how to take into account the empty trips in a logistics chain, how to allocate the resulting environmental impacts and how comparisons should be made between means or modes of transport. In addition, the next steps in the development work, especially linked to on-going standardisation and research projects, will be sketched out.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationYoung Researchers Seminar 2011
    Subtitle of host publicationBook of papers
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    MoE publication typeNot Eligible
    EventYoung Researchers Seminar 2011 - , Denmark
    Duration: 8 Jun 201110 Jun 2011


    ConferenceYoung Researchers Seminar 2011
    Abbreviated titleYRS


    Dive into the research topics of 'Bringing transparency to environmental impacts of transport- LIPASTO transport emission database'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this