45th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Land Use and Water Management in a Sustainable Network Society", 23-27 August 2005, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Regional transport system plans present the wide framework for local transport planning, and are the means of applying the national high-level objectives regionally. Transport system plans are usually created interactively with the regional land use planning. Prediction and appraisal of the potential impacts of the alternatives under discussion form an important part of the planning process. This paper presents Finnish experience in defining criteria for assessing the potential welfare impacts of a transport plan or policy. These criteria are to be used co-operatively by the planners and decision-makers. An important issue is the link between the formation of the objectives and the actual evaluation of impacts, as well as the underlying values and views that influence the selection of planning methods and practises. The criteria were drafted based on a literature review and preliminary discussions with national transport authorities. The preliminary criteria were selected and put into order by using the multi-criteria method MACBETH. The process involved active co-operation with the national transport authorities, as well as with other interest groups. The draft criteria were prioritised based on the opinions of selected representatives of national and regional authorities and transport planners. In this paper we focus on the priorisation process of the criteria, as well as discuss the validity and usability of the criteria created. Furthermore, the suitability of multi-criteria analysis in the context of regional transport planning is discussed, in addition to the consistency requirements between the criteria and the multi-criteria model. The criteria have been created in an ongoing Finnish study that aims at supporting regional transport planning, concerning the impacts that changes in the transport system may have on the welfare of the communities and individuals. Furthermore, the suitability of certain Multi-Criteria Decision Aid (MCDA) methods in creating consensus in the planning process is tested.