Evaluation of an MCA Equity Appraisal Framework Through a TEN-T Case Study



Evaluation of an MCA Equity Appraisal Framework Through a TEN-T Case Study

Authors

N Thomopoulos, S Grant-Muller, M Tight, ITS, University of Leeds, UK

Description

This paper provides a theoretical framework for assessing equity impacts of large transport infrastructure projects based on a Multi-Criteria Analysis approach. The proposed framework is tested through a TEN-T case study.

Abstract

Large transport infrastructure projects have always been viewed as landmarks for their respective regions and countries. Nonetheless, there are both positive and negative implications of projects of such scale, as well as increased risks for the developers and funding bodies (Flyvbjerg et al, 2003). Trans-European Transport Networks form such a policy with multiple objectives for various European regions. This paper, which is based on ongoing PhD research, focuses at a project level and applies a framework to assess equity impacts.

Various appraisal methods have been developed since the 19th century to evaluate the impacts of transport projects (Quinet, 2000). Until recently Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) has been the dominant method, including efforts to assess the equity impacts of transport projects despite some limitations in the CBA approach (Pearce et al, 2006). This paper aims at providing a theoretical framework for assessing equity impacts of large transport infrastructure projects based on an alternative approach, namely Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA). This theoretical approach applies a normative method which is considered appropriate to use when referring to equity considerations in relation to transport projects. One of the strengths of the proposed equity framework is that it encourages the decision maker to select the most appropriate equity principle to be applied to each project through use of the Analytic Hierarchy Process (Saaty, 1980). Weights for the priority of each decision maker with respect to equity types and equity principles are derived through the use of an AHP questionnaire and a relevant software application. These weights will be then utilised to derive an overall equity indicator to assess the project impacts. This indicator consists of various other existing indicators (transport, environmental, socioeconomic), which are used as a proxy to assess the equity impacts of a transport project.

The proposed equity framework is implemented in a TEN-T as a case study to assess its applicability and highlight its limitations and deficiencies. This particular case study has been selected for the research reported here as it is already 90% operational and as a result an ex-post data analysis and test of the proposed framework can be conducted. In this way the inevitable uncertainty of forecasting methods is avoided.

This paper has the aims of firstly suggesting an equity framework to assess the equity impacts of large transport infrastructure projects and secondly reporting on its benefits and limitations through a case study. As such, it may be of interest not only for academics conducting research regarding transport appraisal, but also for practitioners involved in decision making of large transport infrastructure projects.

Publisher

Association for European Transport