An integrated material metabolism model for stocks of urban road system in Beijing, China

Rapid urbanization has greatly altered the urban metabolism of material and energy. As a significant part of the infrastructure, urban roads are being rapidly developed worldwide. Quantitative analysis of metabolic processes on urban road systems, especially the scale, composition and spatial distribution of their stocks, could help to assess the resource appropriation and potential environmental impacts, as well as improve urban metabolism models. In this paper, an integrated model, which covered all types of roads, intersection structures and ancillary facilities, was built for calculating the material stocks of urban road systems. Based on a bottom-up method, the total stocks were disassembled into a number of stock parts rather than obtained by input-output data, which provided an approach promoting data availability and inner structure understanding. The combination with GIS enabled the model to tackle the complex structures of road networks and avoid double counting. In the case study of Beijing, the following results are shown: 1) The total stocks for the entire road system reached 159 million tons, of which nearly 80% was stored in roads, and 20% in ancillary facilities. 2) Macadam was the largest stock (111 million tons), while stone mastic asphalt, polyurethane plastics, and atactic polypropylene accounted for smaller components of the overall system. 3) The stock per unit area of pedestrian overcrossing was higher than that of the other stock units in the entire system, and its steel stocks reached 0.49 t/m(2), which was 10 times as high as that in interchanges. 4) The high stock areas were mainly distributed in ring-shaped and radial expressways, as well as in major interchanges. 5) Expressways and arterials were excessively emphasized, while minor roads were relatively ignored. However, the variation of cross-sectional thickness in branches and neighborhood roads will have a significant impact on the scale of material stocks in the entire road system.

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Beijing