Source: some data from Living Planet Report, 2006 and Summary result of second Eurostat questionnaire on CFC on public infrastructure, DOC.CFC 15, Eurostat, 2003.
Lifespan (Life Cycle) of Main Transport Assets
The lifespan of a transport asset is the approximate number of years in which it is expected to perform under normal operating conditions while receiving regular maintenance (average lifespan). Because of the various construction materials, the techniques used and operating conditions, the lifespan is an approximate figure since higher engineering requirements may extend the lifespan further (optimum lifespan). For complex transport infrastructure, such as a port or an airport, lifespan considerations are nuanced by the respective lifespans of components such as piers, runways, crane equipment and individual buildings (e.g. terminals, warehouses). All of these facilities can be maintained and upgraded separately.
Among the major transport assets, the automobile is having the shortest lifespan in the range of 8 to 10 years depending on the level of usage and the operating environment. There is however evidence that the lifespan of cars is increasing due to technical improvements. A properly maintained jet plane can easily last 20 years, with some lasting beyond 30 years. Rail lines can last for decades, if not a century and a half (depending on the construction materials used), but require a constant and capital intensive maintenance. Transport investments must thus look closely on the expected lifespan of an infrastructure to insure a proper amortization and match the investment time range with the expected lifespan of the transport asset.