Prioritising transport infrastructure projects: Towards a multi-criterion analysis
AbstractThis paper explores a number of aspects relevant to developing a
systematic framework for the appraisal of transport infrastructure projects of the type ‘budget cycle projects with local economic impacts’, and applying it to the City of Tshwane. Such a framework is needed as, by implication, the budgeting process for any transport agency requires projects to be ranked in terms of their relative value. Cost/benefit analysis, when applied in a classic sense, is not suitable for this purpose, given its exclusive focus on economic efficiency, whilst attempts to broaden it to include other impacts (or objectives) are not generally accepted. Multi-criterion analysis, however, is capable of facilitating project ranking in a multi-objective decisionmaking environment, but needs to be customised first to accurately reflect local conditions. The paper concludes that an appraisal framework should combine these two types of analysis by adopting an overall multi-criterion approach with economic efficiency (optimal allocation of resources), equity (impact distribution aspects),
sustainability (environmental considerations) and compatibility (alignment with community goals and objectives, and other strategic initiatives) as decision criteria. This will ensure a usable protocol for the appraisal of this type of transport infrastructure project in an essentially multi-criterion decision-making environment.
Key words: cost–benefit analysis (CBA), decision criteria, general equilibrium analysis, multi-criterion analysis (MCA), partial equilibrium analysis, project appraisal, project feasibility, project impacts, economic efficiency, project prioritisation (ranking), project selection, transport infrastructure (projects)