A Comprehensive Assessment Approach for Water-Soil Environmental Risk during Railway Construction in Ecological Fragile Region Based on AHP and MEA

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Original languageEnglish
Article number7910
Journal / PublicationSustainability
Issue number19
Online published24 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes



With China's government facilitating railway projects, more railway lines inevitably pass through ecological fragile regions (EFRs). Railway construction activities in EFRs might cause detrimental impacts on the local water-soil environment (WSE), which is the basis of the local ecological system that if destroyed can induce secondary disasters. Studies on the WSE risk (WSER) during railway construction in EFRs are limited. As such, this study aims to offer preliminary insight into the WSER assessment of railway construction in EFRs. WSERs were identified firstly based on the literature review and field surveys, and thus a risk index framework for WSER assessment including 5 categories of WSERs and 16 second-order risks was established. Then a comprehensive quantitative assessment method was developed by integrating analytic hierarchy process (AHP) and matter-element analysis (MEA) to assess the overall WSERs of railway construction in EFRs. A case (i.e., the Mingan subproject of Hefei-Fuzhou railway) was selected to demonstrate and validate the developed approach. Results show that the proposed assessment approach can be applied to evaluate the WSERs during railway construction. In addition, the case study demonstrates that the risk of construction methods should be the key focus. Findings from this study enrich the knowledge body of sustainable railways and guide the project managers to conduct practical WSER assessment of railway construction.

Research Area(s)

  • water-soil environment risks, risk assessment, railway construction, ecological fragile region, analytic hierarchy process, matter-element analysis

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