Transport infrastructure is fundamental for the smooth operation of the internal market, for the mobility of persons and goods and for the economic, social and territorial cohesion of the European Union. To date, various multi-criteria (MCA) methods have been developed in order to assess the impact of transport policy measures and to complement conventional cost benefit analysis. The CONSENSUS project proposes a MCA decision framework that will be elaborated through a platform that would be easy to use, understandable, flexible and coherent in terms of the handling of the complexity and uncertainty of transportation issues. A brief description of the framework is provided below.
Stage 1: Definition of Impacts/Criteria identification
The result of this stage will be the creation of an extensive list of criteria which should be used in the selection process. It will be clustered in three main groups, namely environmental, social and economic criteria
Stage 2: Estimation of Criterion Scores
At this stage, the scores (degree of performance) of each alternative scenario for each criterion will be calculated. Criterion scores can be derived in many different ways and can be expressed in qualitative or quantitative terms.
Stage 3: Estimation of Criteria Weights
In order to establish the criteria’s’ weights, the general policy (high level) priorities are indirectly taken into consideration.
Stage 4: Estimation of Weighted Alternatives Scores
Subsequently, the weighted summation of specific criterion scores will take place.
Stage 5: Hierarchy of Alternatives – Final Choice
Based on the results of Stage 4, the final ranking and therefore the selection of the appropriate alternative scenario will take place. Naturally, the best scenario will be the one with the maximum total performance.
Stage 6: Uncertainty Handling
It is well recognised that uncertainty is a major problem in the application of a MCA method. It is present in the form of: criterion uncertainty, assessment uncertainty, priority/weight uncertainty and method uncertainty. At this stage, the appropriate method is applied to handle all or some forms of uncertainty, if needed.