A review of cost–benefit analysis and multicriteria decision analysis from the perspective of sustainable transport in project evaluation

Authors: Marleau Donais, FrancisAbi-Zeid, IrèneWaygood, Edward Owen DouglasLavoie, Roxane
Abstract: Transport decision processes have traditionally applied cost-benefit analysis (CBA) with benefits mainly relating to time savings, and costs relating to infrastructure and maintenance costs. However, a shift toward more sustainable practices was initiated over the last decades to remedy the many negative impacts of automobility. As a result, decision processes related to transport projects have become more complex due to the multidimensional aspects and to the variety of stakeholders involved, often with conflicting points of view. To support rigorous decision making, multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA) is, in addition to CBA, often used by governments and cities. However, there is still no consensus in the transport field regarding a preferred method that can integrate sustainability principles. This paper presents a descriptive literature review related to MCDA and CBA in the field of transport. Among the 66 considered papers, we identified the perceived strengths and weaknesses of CBA and MCDA, the different ways to combine them and the ability of each method to support sustainable transport decision processes. We further analysed the results based on four types of rationality (objectivist, conformist, adjustive and reflexive). Our results show that both methods can help improve the decision processes and that, depending on the rationality adopted, the perceived strengths and weaknesses of MCDA and CBA can vary. Nonetheless, we observe that by adopting a more global and holistic perspective and by facilitating the inclusion of a participative process, MCDA, or a combination of both methods, emerge as the more promising appraisal methods for sustainable transport.
Document Type: Article de recherche
Issue Date: 8 October 2019
Open Access Date: 23 September 2021
Document version: AM
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/70422
This document was published in: EURO Journal on Decision Processes, Vol. 7 (3-4) 327–358 (2019)
https://dx.doi.org/ 10.1007/s40070-019-00098-1
Heidelberg Springer
Alternative version: 10.1007/s40070-019-00098-1
Collection:Articles publiés dans des revues avec comité de lecture

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