Multi-Criteria Analysis

It is impossible to try to reduce all values in society to a monetary value. In some cases, where there is no market to reveal a monetary value, available techniques of valuation, such as stated and revealed preference methods (contingent valuation, travel cost method, choice modelling, etc.), are expensive to implement and often provide unreliable value estimates.

An alternative approach to that of monetary valuation of all benefits and costs is the method of multi-criteria analysis. Multi-criteria analysis (MCA) is a structured framework for investigating, analysing and resolving decision problems constrained by multiple objectives and criteria (Nijkamp et al.1990, Voogd 1983). It is seen by many as an alternative to CBA primarily because it does not require all impacts to be expressed in monetary units.

In its most basic form, a multi-criteria analysis (MCA) model is comprised of a set of evaluative criteria, a set of weights indicating the importance of those criteria, a set of alternatives (scenarios or alternative projects), and a set of performance measures indicating the performance of each alternative against each criterion. This method of analysis is aimed at supporting decision makers when faced with making numerous and conflicting evaluations.

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