A multicriteria decision-making approach for evaluating alternative transportation plans

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Civil and Architectural Engineering

First Committee Member

K. G. Zografos - Committee Chair


The reason for the selection of this particular research topic stems from the perceived need to establish some sort of "standard" to serve as a guide for the professional involved in this type of work at the Project Development and Environment (PD&E) Stage. Potentially inaccurate results are generally derived due to deficiencies in five basic problems areas, mainly: (1) The lack of clearly defined goals and objectives; (2) The absence of weight assignment; (3) The lack of sensitivity analysis; (4) Criteria duplication; and (5) The lack of alternative segmentation.The principal objective of this dissertation is to establish an evaluation methodology that can effectively deal with the five problem areas previously mentioned. Another objective involves the identification of a technique to fairly gauge the relative weight of each of the judges' decisions and to properly aggregate the results.A discussion concerning the advantages and disadvantages of various existing multi-objective techniques was conducted. In addition, a panel composed of several PD& E professionals was asked to perform a multi-phase evaluation using various different evaluation methodologies. Once a "potential preferred technique" was identified, changes were made to specifically address the five problem areas previously mentioned. Finally, a case study intended to test the adequacy of the proposed methodology was conducted.The proposed evaluation methodology promotes the clear definition of goals and objectives by listing up to 147 different criteria normally encountered in transportation projects. The criteria duplication issue is addressed through the provision of useful guidelines intended to identify pairs of non-independent criteria. The relative importance (weight) of the individual responses are aggregated by using the individual inconsistencies, knowledge and personal balance of the panel members. The alternative segmentation problem is also discussed and segmentation guidelines based on the project's functional and geometric characteristics developed. In addition, various geometric restrictions affecting the potential project segmentation are included.



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