Assessment of welfare impacts in transport system planning

Katja Estlander

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMonograph


    The goal of this thesis was to define what kind of impacts take place on the preconditions for welfare in the everyday life of people and the condition of the environment, when the transport system is being modified. Another main aim was to introduce a process for decision-makers to compare these so-called welfare impacts of different implementation schemes of transport plans, programmes and policies. The research questions were the following: 1) What kind of innovative combination of multi-criteria approaches would be applicable for assessment of welfare impacts of a transport plan, programme or policy and would allow the valuations of stakeholders to be taken into consideration? 2) What kind of impacts can modifications in transport systems have on the welfare of individuals, communities and the environment in Finland, and what criteria can be formulated to assess the impacts? and 3) Is it possible to use the evaluation criteria in practice and get representative and sufficient information about the welfare impacts of a transport plan, programme or policy? Firstly, potential welfare impacts were sought for from literature and by interviews. Then a long list of potential criteria was discussed by means of postal survey, Internet survey and group interviews. The resulting list was reconstructed by using a multi-criteria method called Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) and after this, by discussing the study project with the stakeholders. The two surveys, the AHP analysis and the ensuing discussions led to a new version of the list of criteria. The criteria were tested in two Finnish case studies. These case studies were the enhancement project of the Seinäjoki–Oulu railway connection and the Helsinki Metropolitan Area Transport System Plan 2007. The welfare impacts of these two plans were evaluated by using the already existing evaluation data of the plans.After the impact assessment, another application of the multi-criteria analysis was used. This method is called Measuring Attractiveness by a Categorical-based Evaluation Technique (MACBETH). MACBETH served as a tool to imply the values of the decision-makers or stakeholders in the impact assessment and to define the comprehensive list of welfare impacts. The MACBETH analysis was carried out solely on the basis of the data from the Helsinki MA Transport System Plan, but this data was used both in Helsinki and Oulu. However, the comprehensive list was not a direct result of the MACBETH process. These results were again discussed with the project stakeholders, and the list was finished according to their valuations. The main results of the study are the list of criteria of potential welfare impacts of modifications in the transport system, and a MCDA process called AssessmentAid, for implying values of the stakeholders in the impact analysis of a transport plan or project. The list consists of six sub-groups of criteria and 15 assessment criteria thereunder. The following sub-groups were identified: ‘Accessibility’, ‘Health’, ‘Safety and security’, ‘Quality of life’, ‘Environment’, and ‘Economic conditions’. Other results are 1) information about the welfare impacts of the two case studies, 2) information about the preference order of the plans when welfare impacts and values of the stakeholders are included in the impact analysis, and 3) information about experience in using multi-criteria methods in impact assessment within the Finnish transport sector. Also, the study contributed to the wider co-operation between the different branches of administration that are involved in the strategic transport system planning.
    Translated title of the contributionLiikennejärjestelmän muokkaamisen hyvinvointivaikutusten arviointi
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor's degree
    Awarding Institution
    • Aalto University
    • Luttinen, Tapio , Supervising Professor
    • Pursula, Matti, Thesis Advisor
    Print ISBNs978-951-38-8336-2
    Electronic ISBNs978-951-38-8337-9
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    MoE publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)


    • transport system
    • assessment of welfare impacts
    • evaluation criteria
    • multi-criteria analysis
    • accessibility
    • health
    • traffic safety
    • feeling of safety
    • quality of life
    • environment
    • nature
    • economic conditions


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