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Decision Making with Competing Objectives and Unbounded Uncertainties: A Framework and Case Study

Sigrida Reinis, Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc.
July 20, 2022 (SDP Invited Talk)

Abstract: Langan was retained by a major utility company (confidential client) to prepare a Feasibility Study to evaluate several route alignment alternatives for a replacement linear utility, with one alignment involving burial beneath a river and the others involving trenching along a major thoroughfare in one of the US’s largest cities. Given the early stage of the FS, there were many data gaps regarding environmental, geotechnical, and geological conditions along both the river and land alignments. These data gaps were captured in the probabilistic cost estimate (using Monte Carlo simulation).

Multi-attribute decision analysis (using the methodology developed by Ralph Keeney and Howard Raiffa) was then used to rank the alternatives based on the tradeoffs between the competing objectives of cost, construction duration, and installed system reliability, each of which have a certain degree of uncertainty; the alternative having the highest "total utility” was identified as the preferred alternative.

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Keywords: value focused thinking vft multobj, analysis and modeling anamod, risk and uncertainty riskunc, simulation mcsim, Influence Diagram infldiag, Tornado chart torncht, Probability assessment probass

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