Strategic option assessment: an alternative approach to multi-criteria analysis for transport / land use corridors

Multi-criteria analysis (MCA) and benefit-cost analysis (BCA) are established techniques for evaluating alternative transport and land use scenarios. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses. The MCA is usually applied to a strategic-level, rapid assessment of alternative options while the BCA is most often used to develop a robust, detailed business case for a particular project. In the conduct of an MCA there is an emphasis on the judgement of decision-makers (and stakeholders) in establishing strategic objectives and criteria and linking these to option evaluation. While providing clear links to the objectives, it is often difficult to incorporate rigorous, quantitative analysis within its framework. Evaluation criteria are rarely independent and can tend to overemphasise the benefits of an option rather than its costs. A BCA enables policymakers to assess whether a policy initiative or project will provide a net community benefit, taking into account that the (limited) resources deployed in implementing the initiative or project have alternative productive uses. The BCA carefully compares total costs and benefits. However, a BCA does not explicitly account for the broader policy objectives of decision-makers and is less concerned with the distribution of benefits. This paper presents a “middle” approach referred to as a strategic option assessment (SOA). It introduces elements of the MCA approach to the quantitative framework of a basic BCA. The relative importance of different strategic criteria are considered through differential weighting of the cost and benefit components of each option. Consideration is given to the spatial and temporal distribution of benefits and alternative policy emphases are considered through adjusting BCA parameters. The net result is a clear, transparent, rigorous method for assessing options against established policy objectives.


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: 17p
  • Monograph Title: State of Australian cites national conference 2015, 9-11 December, Gold Coast, Queensland: SOAC conference proceedings

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01599131
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • ISBN: 9781925455038
  • Files: ITRD, ATRI
  • Created Date: May 18 2016 3:58PM