Develop a Multi-objective Decision Support Framework for Transportation Investments

Available Document
Project Report

Primary Investigator
Mashrur A Chowdhury
Civil Engineering
University of Dayton
300 College Park
Dayton, OH 45469-0243
(517) 353 7297

Project Objective
This project intends to develop a decision making framework that can be applied to analyze and evaluate transportation investment alternatives, allocate resources optimally among competing systems/projects, generate a number of investment alternatives based upon available resources, and develop an interactive process that will provide a graphical demonstration to the decision maker of the relative trade-offs between the most desirable investment options based on the objectives selected for the project.

Project Abstract
The decision making scenarios in transportation projects, construction or operational, often involve more than one objective. Some of these objectives are difficult to convert into monetary units. Multi-objective analysis enables solutions or plans for a potential project to be generated where a number of objectives, which are conflicting and expressed in different measures of effectiveness, must be satisfied.

This project will run through several steps in developing the final report containing models to help “optimally” allocate available resources. The research team will identify various decision scenarios that are often encountered in transportation projects and develop a list of objectives for each scenario. From this, multiobjective decision analysis models will be developed. The research team will develop various methods to generate optimal alternatives or allocate resources optimally between competing projects for each multiobjective model developed. Finally, an interactive process will be developed to help the decision maker evaluate alternatives identified.

Task Descriptions

  1. Task 1: Identify Decision Scenarios – literature review and report review; meet with representatives from each state in the region to identify scenarios
  2. Task 2: Develop Multi-objective Decision Analysis Models – develop a list of objectives for each decision scenario; identification of objective functions for each scenario expressed in terms of the decision variables
  3. Task 3: Develop Suitable Methodology to Develop Optimal Alternatives – methods would generate the most desirable alternatives based on the objectives and constraints set forth for each decision scenario
  4. Task 4: Develop Interactive Processes to Help Decision Maker Evaluate Alternatives – develop a graphical method that will guide decision-makers in comprehending the trade-offs between the best possible options
  5. Task 5: Solve Example Cases and Prepare Final Report – report will document findings of Tasks 1-4; an appendix that will contain examples of proposed methods for each scenario

Technology Transfer Activities
The results will be available to all members State DOTs. The resulting program and support documentation would be available outside of the region as well. Preliminary results will be presented at the 4th National Transportation Asset Management Workshop in September 2001.

Potential Benefits of the Project
The proposed framework will give decision makers the tools they need to make best use of resources in selecting and implementing transportation projects. The ability to place investment decisions in this context is essential to the thematic area of the Center.

Project Information

  • Milestones, Dates: Project start date: 9/1/01, Final report by 11/30/02
  • Year 1 Budget: $143,284
  • Year 2 Budget: $0
  • Total Budget: $143,284
  • Student Involvement: 2 Graduate student assistants and student hourly support
  • TRB Keywords: Decision Support, Intelligent Transportation Systems
  • Primary Subject: Multiobjective Decision Support
  • Modal Orientation: Highway, Rail, Transit, Air
  • Project Number: 02-02