2017 IAAA Finalist: Multi Criteria Analy. & Vis and Simulation to Support Regen. of Railways

Combining Multi Criteria Analysis with Interactive Visualization and Real Time Sensitivity Simulations to Support the Regeneration Process of Disused Railways

Inactive railway lines and, together with them, disused station buildings, constitute an increasingly important heritage asset and are thus becoming the focus of regeneration processes worldwide. However, the decision of what to do in order to reuse abandoned railways represents a complex decision making problem, involving heterogeneous impacts and multiple stakeholders leading to conflicting objectives. Such a context calls for the use of analytics able to support transparent, replicable and justifiable processes/results.

This project proposes a combination of different analytics to effectively support collaborative decision making processes where a decision has to be made among competing options. In particular, the study developed and tested an integrated analytical approach by combining:

– preference elicitation analytics with visualization analytics in the descriptive phase of the process;
– sensitivity analysis with visualization analytics in the predictive phase of the process;
– prescriptive decision analysis with facilitated modelling throughout the whole process.
The proposed framework has been tested on a real case study dealing with transportation systems’ planning in Northern Italy, where several passenger railway lines have recently been abandoned and replaced by bus services.

The main objective of the study was to investigate which role integrated decision analytics can play to support heterogeneous impacts’ aggregation in territorial planning, by discussing in particular the operability, the applicability and the transparency of the developed methodological framework.

The contribution brought by the study is twofold and refers to: (i) improved operability of the proposed tools obtained by combining visualization analytics with consolidated preference elicitation protocols for assessing multiple impacts and (ii) the provision of a replicable working tool for policy makers.