Multi-criteria evaluation of transport options—flexible, transparent and user-friendly?

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

economics - appraisal/evaluation


transport investment appraisal, multi-criteria analysis, criterion-weighting


Although the current UK system of transport project appraisal (NATA) has made progress towards a more inclusive approach, based upon five criteria, it lacks guidance to decision-takers as to how the multi-criteria information about alternative projects should be used to identify the preferred option. This could lead to a lack of clarity, consistency and accountability in a crucial part of the decision-taking process, despite the care taken to assess all the various impacts of the alternatives. This paper proposes a method whereby the assessment information can be combined, using a weighted sum. It describes a novel way of obtaining the relevant weights, such that minimum discrimination between alternatives is ensured and the derivation of the weights rests on a set of explicit constraints. This has the merit of allowing an appropriate degree of both consistency and flexibility with respect to the relative weights of the various criteria. It could open the way to a more flexible, transparent and user-friendly method of ranking transport investment options.


Permission to publish the abstract given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


Transport Policy Home Page: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/0967070X