Locating a waste treatment facility by using stochastic multicriteria acceptability analysis with ordinal criteria

Risto Lahdelma, Pekka Salminen*, Joonas Hokkanen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

118 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we describe a real-life application of an ordinal multicriteria method in the context of choosing a location for a waste treatment facility near Lappeenranta in South-Eastern Finland. The associated environmental impact assessment (EIA) procedure is briefly described. The application was characterized by two interesting properties: no preference information was available, and only ordinal measurements for the criteria were available. The large amount of data obtained was then analyzed using the SMAA-O method - Stochastic Multicriteria Acceptability Analysis with Ordinal criteria designed for this problem setting. SMAA-O converts ordinal information into cardinal data by simulating all possible mappings between ordinal and cardinal scales that preserve the given rankings. As with the basic SMAA-method, the decision makers' (DMs) unknown or partly known preferences are at the same time simulated by choosing weights randomly from appropriate distributions. The main results of the analysis are acceptability indices for alternatives describing the variety of preferences that could make each alternative the best choice. Based on these and additional considerations, the DMs made the final choice for the location of the plant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-356
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2002
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Acceptability analysis
  • Environmental planning
  • Group decision making
  • Multicriteria decision making
  • Waste treatment


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