Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

A Multi-Criteria Prioritization Framework (MCPF) to Assess Infrastructure Sustainability Objectives and Prioritize Damaged Infrastructure Assets in Developing Countries

Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

A Multi-Criteria Prioritization Framework (MCPF) to Assess Infrastructure Sustainability Objectives and Prioritize Damaged Infrastructure Assets in Developing Countries

Article excerpt

Abstract

This paper presents a Multi-Criteria Prioritization Framework (MCPF) that can assist decision-makers and government administrators in identifying and ranking infrastructure sustainability objectives in developing countries. The framework also helps governments of developing countries in assessing the priority of repair of damaged infrastructure assets, based on significant sustainability objectives. A Template of infrastructure sustainability objectives is developed through literature review and interviews with key experts. A questionnaire-based survey solicits experts' opinions to rate the sustainability objectives based on their relative importance to the public, using a five-point Likert rating scale. The quality of experts participating in the rating process is determined using the pair-wise comparison method of the analytical hierarchical process (AHP) that calculates a crisp importance weight value of each expert, based on his or her qualification criteria. The relative importance index (RII) method is adapted to prioritize the sustainability objectives, which integrates the rating scores assigned by experts and their relative importance weight factors. A crisp facility sustainability priority index (FSPI) is computed using a survey-based approach and a weighted sum technique in multi-criteria decision analysis that determines the priority of repair of damaged infrastructure facilities, based on significant sustainability objectives. In order to test the applicability of the prioritization framework, a case study is applied in Egypt to demonstrate how the model can assist governments of developing countries in prioritizing damaged infrastructure assets that need urgent repairs. The prioritization framework presented in this paper offers a simple yet efficient evaluation technique to decision-makers with limited budgets that accounts for sustainability objectives in deciding on the repair priorities of damaged facilities.

Keywords: infrastructure, sustainability, multi-criteria decision analysis

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

1. Introduction

In general, infrastructure assets, such as transportation and communications systems, water and power lines, and public services buildings provide the means for any society to survive. According to the World Bank Group (2008), infrastructure assets are the most critical components for the sustainable development of emerging countries, as they provide their communities with the necessary conditions to reach their economic, social, and environmental goals. Infrastructure assets are also fundamental to mitigate the effects of both natural and man-made catastrophic events. This is particularly important given the continuing growth of the global population and the global patterns of the migration of people (Cleveland, 2008). Similar to other types of facilities, infrastructure assets are subjected to deterioration, either due to aging or due to external sources of damage, such as fire, theft, or flooding that may necessitate conducting urgent repairs. As such, governments of developing countries are in need of a framework that can help them maintaining and restoring these facilities in the case of damage. However, damaged facilities do not necessarily share the same level of importance to the public welfare (Elbarkouky et al., 2012). Thus, the priority of repair should be given to the infrastructure facilities that most fit the strategic objectives of the decision-maker and the public, especially at times when decision-makers do not have enough budgets to perform the required repair. The same concept applies to constructing new infrastructure facilities in developing countries.

As a general rule, there is a group of factors that may impact the process of assigning priorities to the damaged infrastructure facilities. In contrast to the factors that can be easily quantified, such as the cost of repair, some factors are subjective in nature and cannot be easily assessed, such as safety, heritage, and renewable energy (Elbarkouky et al. …

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