Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis as part of FRONTIER project

In the transport sector, consistent decision-making requires a structured and systematic evaluation of advantages and disadvantages of different choice possibilities. Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) provides a framework for structuring decision problems and provides a set of methods for generating preferences among alternatives. For transport projects, policies or policy measures, and transport options evaluation, various MCDA methods have been developed and effectively applied to enable structuring of complex problems, consideration of multiple criteria, and support informed decision making. The advantage of these methods is the ability to consider the contradictory and disproportionate effects of the decisions, whereas a limitation could be considered that the generated solutions are a compromise between many goals and are not optimal due to the nature of the problem.

According to a recent review paper, based on the wide range of reviewed literature, it is concluded that MCDM methods are being applied mostly to evaluate transport options rather than transport policies or projects and that the most used MCDM method in transport sector problems are analytic hierarchy process (AHP) or one of its derivate. Other commonly used methods include ELECTRE, PROMETHEE and TOPSIS/VIKOR. Moreover, an interesting approach allowing increased stakeholders' participation, is the multi-actor multi-criteria analysis (MAMCA), a decision-making method to enable the simultaneous evaluation of alternative policy measures, scenarios, technologies, etc. while explicitly including different stakeholders’ opinions at an early stage of the decision-making process. Like the traditional MCDA methods, it allows including qualitative as well as quantitative criteria with their relative importance, but within the MAMCA they represent the goals and objectives of the multiple stakeholders.

In the FRONTIER project, response plans recommendation services that will filter and propose appropriate response plans to network and traffic operators are going to be implemented. These services will offer a decision analysis framework for assessing, weighing the sets of available response plans in order to support operators in their selection and deployment. The recommendation services will leverage Multi-Actor Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) methods. Different decision criteria and objectives are defined, capturing the interests of multiple stakeholders in the transport network, consider aspects of safety and environment (including parameters such as air pollution), travellers comfort in addition to contextual parameters for cases of incidents and extreme events. Moreover, one differentiating factor in our approach is the fact that the response plans recommendation services will operate on-the-fly, by calculating the relevant metrics and evaluating the alternatives in real-time, contrary to most traditional static MCDA approaches.