Trading political feasibility and technical optimality: Multi

Trading political feasibility and technical optimality: Multi

19 Pages · 2010 · 1.18 MB · English

1 Trading political feasibility and technical optimality: Multi‐Attribute Tradespace Exploration as communication tool in transportation planning

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1 Trading political feasibility and technical optimality:  Multi‐Attribute Tradespace Exploration as  communication tool in transportation planning  Julia Nickel  Abstract  A challenge in the planning of largescale sociotechnical systems is the explicit consideration of both political implementation concerns and technical properties of design concepts Often those two dimensions are interrelated This paper demonstrates a disconnect in a public transportation case study between political feasibility and technical optimality from a costperformance point of view Object of the case study is the design of an airport express, based on plans regarding access to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago Based on the application of MultiAttribute Tradespace Exploration (MATE) to this case study, a valuecentric design and evaluation method developed in the aerospace domain, the cost of ruling out certain designs early on in conceptual design is demonstrated visually through tradespaces The modeling effort behind the MATE study is based on technical studies by the Chicago Transit Authority and interviews with decision making stakeholders in Chicago Suggestions for how to modify political feasibility show that this factor can be influenced and should not cause design concepts to be ruled out at an early point in the conceptual design phase The use of MATE as analytic tool and visual aid for communication between policy makers and transportation planners/engineers is demonstrated 1 Introduction  Traditional engineering decision making on the one hand and political decision making on the other are very different Engineering seeks to modify nature and to create systems that fulfill a decision maker’s goals A decision maker’s goals are based on his values, tha tis on what he finds desirable and important The rational planning method underlies the traditional engineering decision making process and comprises at least five steps: 1 Goal elicitation, 2 Selection of evaluation criteria, 3 Generation of alternatives, 4 Evaluation of alternatives, and 5 Selection of a preferred alternative Optimization often plays a role in either implementation at lowest cost or maximizing of performance within a given budget Improvements have been made to the rational planning process, such as exchanging fixed goals for acceptable ranges (Ross 2003), including uncertainty into the evaluation of preferred alternatives (de Neufville 2003), and considering changing goals, values and contexts (Ross 2006) that will impact a system’s value delivery in the future basic nature of the rational planning process delivering to fulfill a decision maker’s goals however remains unchanged Political decision making on the other hand is an emergent process based on consensus and coalition building Different interest groups fight for the attention of a the decision maker, who has a limited attention span The decision maker needs to balance multiple competing interests, who may have more or less formal or informal veto power The ability of a decision maker to propose a project that satisfies a sufficiently large coalition makes or breaks a project In many cases in the transportation domain, even interest groups without formal decision making power have the power to delay an undesired 2 project and drive up cost The option “do nothing” or “do nothing for a long time” is often an alternative to whatever is on the table and can be forced on a project by interest groups if consensus cannot be reached Unlike in an optimization problem, it is not advantageous and may not be wise to broach controversial value and goal discussions early on in a project, which may increase controversy In the interest of progressing with a project at all, a savvy politician will need to convince different constituencies of the instrumental value of the project he wishes to pursue to their possibly very different larger goals The same project can be supported by interest groups with opposed interests who are deriving some intermediate instrumental value from it Transportation

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