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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A multiple criteria decision process : the case study of rapid transit in Greater Vancouver Oyhenart, Gregory John Peter


One of the most fundamental issues in the field of planning revolves around evaluation within the decision making process. What determines how governments, or government agencies, allocate public resources? What social, economic, environmental, and political considerations are taken into account? Who is involved in this process? The purpose of this thesis is to examine evaluation methodology using the case study of the decision on the next phase of rapid transit within the Greater Vancouver area. The thesis begins by reviewing the major evaluation methodologies available for the decision: Cost-Benefit Analysis, Planning Balance Sheet, Goals Achievement Matrix, Multiple Criteria Analysis, Multiple Accounts, and the Delphi Process. An analysis of each model's strengths, weaknesses, and historical applications shows that no one is adequate for our decision. The emphasis of evaluation is typically to produce an answer for decision makers. The purpose of the literature review is to see what opportunities exist within these various models to include a process for decision making. The emphasis is not on identifying the best route, but how to decide which would be the best route. The focus is on what factors should be accounted for, and who should be involved in the process. Rapid Transit options have been reviewed and evaluated by two government agencies, the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) and BC Transit, with conflicting results. The GVRD's evaluation used a quasi-Multiple Accounts, and the BC Transit review was a combination of Multiple Accounts and Multiple Criteria Analysis. The two studies, like the theoretical models they are based on, suffered practical shortcomings. Prominent in both was a lack of public participation in the7 final decision-making process. After reviewing the various methodologies and practical problems with the case study, the thesis offers a model based on simple Multiple Criteria Analysis, Multiple Accounts, and the Delphi Process. The hybrid model is sufficiently comprehensive to account for all of the relevant economic, social, and environmental factors and sufficiently robust to include public input to the decision making process. The aim of the thesis is not to radically change the scope of evaluation methodology, but to set it in a broader socioeconomic context.

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