Calculating the Environmental Impacts of Low-Impact Development Using Long-Term Hydrologic Impact Assessment: A Review of Model Applications Academic Article uri icon


  • Low-impact development (LID) is a planning and design strategy that addresses water quality and quantity while providing co-benefits in the urban and suburban landscape. The Long-Term Hydrologic Impact Assessment (L-THIA) model estimates runoff and pollutant loadings using simple inputs of land use, soil type, and climatic data for the watershed-scale analysis of average annual runoff based on curve number analysis. Using Scopus, Web of Science, and Google Scholar, we screened 303 articles that included the search term L-THIA, identifying 47 where L-THIA was used as the primary research method. After review, articles were categorized on the basis of the primary purpose of the use of L-THIA, including site screening, future scenarios and long-term impacts, site planning and design, economic impacts, model verification and calibration, and broader applications including policy development or flood mitigation. A growing body of research documents the use of L-THIA models across landscapes in applications such as the simulations of pollutant loadings for land use change scenarios and the evaluation of designs and cost-effectiveness. While the existing literature demonstrates that L-THIA models are a useful tool, future directions should include more innovative applications such as intentional community engagement and a focus on equity, climate change impacts, and the return on investment and performance of LID practices to address gaps in knowledge.

published proceedings

  • LAND

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Cai, Z., Zhu, R., Ruggiero, E., Newman, G., & Horney, J. A.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Cai, Zhenhang||Zhu, Rui||Ruggiero, Emma||Newman, Galen||Horney, Jennifer A

publication date

  • 2023


published in