Report numberRA-MOW-2008-009
TitleMulti-Criteria Analyse and Multi-Actor Multi-Criteria Analyse
SubtitlePossibilities for evaluating traffic safety measures
AuthorsJeroen Ampe
Tessa Geudens
Cathy Macharis
Published byPolicy Research Centre for Mobility and Public Works, track Traffic Safety 2007-2011
Number of pages52
Document languageDutch
Work packageOther: Evaluation techniques

In this report, we discuss the multi-criteria decision aid or analysis (MCDA), and an extension towards stakeholder participation, the multi-actor multi-criteria analysis (MAMCA). MCDA is a name for a set of formal analytical tools, aiding the decision maker. Formal decision aid is necessary when complex problems occur. When the information, used as input for the problem situation, is both quantitative and qualitative, than the MCDA is a solution to deal with those different kinds of data. MCDA is able to compare criteria without a translation into monetary terms, and this in contradiction with the social cost benefit analysis where all effects have to be translated into monetary terms.

We distinguish several types of MCDA. They all have in common that the procedure can be divided into two large parts or stages. The first stage is the analytical stage, or the construction stage, the second is the synthetic stage or the exploitation stage. In the first stage, the problem is analytically decomposed. The MCDA is therefore a tool with a highly descriptive character. It structures the problem for the decision taker. A set of possible alternatives (projects, actions, strategies…) is constructed. The alternatives are evaluated through criteria. Those criteria may be weighted for their (relative) importance. Using those data, a model is constructed resulting in a matrix. In the synthetic stage, the model is exploited. The matrix is calculated using aggregation techniques. This aggregation or synthesis can be full, partial or interactive, depending on the type of MCDA procedure followed. Finally from this aggregation procedure the results are conducted. The type of solution for the problem depends on the kind of reference problem initially chosen. The solution can be a selection of the best alternative or a subset of alternatives, a classification, a ranking, or only a description of the alternatives without any ranking. The ranking of alternatives can be partial. Partial solutions occur when using methods that allow a certain degree of incomparability and therefore do not conduct a complete synthesis. We consider the several schools of thought in MCDA, namely the value function models, the outranking methods, the interactive methods and goal programming methods.

Several different methods exist, all with their own pros and contras. Important to stress is, that the decision maker needs to maintain the insight in the relation between preferences and the final outcome. The method should not appear as a black box. So the method used needs to be clear to the decision maker. It is interesting to note that there are tendencies to strengthen weak elements from a method with strong elements from another (Macharis et al., 1998). The procedure used, needs to be chosen carefully, taking into account the kind of decision problem, the decision maker preferences, the kind of data available, the kind of requested outcome and the transparency, robustness and scientific consistency of the method.

An important evolution in MCDA is the extension towards group decision support. The participation of several actors or stakeholders is included in the multi-actor, multi-criteria analysis procedure (MAMCA) (Macharis, 2000 and 2004). This method consults the different stakeholders in an early stage of the decision process and makes a thorough analysis of the possible relevant stakeholders. This is necessary to obtain a better acceptation, participation and robustness for the results of a decision process. The MAMCA procedure is successfully applied for several decision problems in the mobility domain. Recently the assessment of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) is performed using a MAMCA (“ADVISORS project” in co-financed by the European Commission). A similar MAMCA application is done in the European “In-Safety project” (Sixth Framework program from the European Commission, on sustainable surface transport).

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The Policy Research Centre for Traffic Safety carries out policy relevant scientific research under the authority of the Flemish Government. The Centre is the result of a

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