How do you apply the decision analysis framework to make a community data-driven decision?

In this case, we’ll examine whether it’s better to build a new road or repair existing ones. We’ll go step by step and use a comparison table to make the process easy to understand. 

Step 1: Identify the decision alternatives  

In our example, we have two alternatives:  

  1. Build a new road 
  2. Repair existing roads

 

Step 2: Determine the evaluation criteria  

We need to identify the factors that are important for the community when making this decision. Here are some possible criteria: 

  1. Cost 
  2. Traffic congestion relief 
  3. Environmental impact 
  4. Safety improvements 
  5. Time to complete the project

 

Step 3: Assign weights to the criteria  

We’ll assign weights to each criterion, which will represent its importance relative to the other criteria. The sum of the weights should equal 1 (or 100%). In this case, we’ve used hypothetical weights, but you could gather input from community members to assign weights based on their preferences. 

Criteria  Weight 
Cost  0.30 
Traffic congestion relief  0.25 
Environmental impact  0.20 
Safety improvements  0.15 
Time to complete the project  0.10 

 

Step 4: Evaluate each alternative based on the criteria  

We’ll rate each alternative for each criterion on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 means that the alternative is poor with respect to the criterion, and 10 means that it’s excellent. We can use available data or expert opinions to determine these ratings. 

Criteria  Weight  Build New Road (Rating)  Repair Existing Roads (Rating) 
Cost  0.30  4  8 
Traffic congestion relief  0.25  7  6 
Environmental impact  0.20  3  7 
Safety improvements  0.15  5  6 
Time to complete the project  0.10  6  5 

 

Step 5: Calculate the weighted scores  

For each alternative, multiply the rating by the weight for each criterion, and then sum up the results. 

Build New Road weighted score = (4 * 0.30) + (7 * 0.25) + (3 * 0.20) + (5 * 0.15) + (6 * 0.10) = 4.85  

Repair Existing Roads weighted score = (8 * 0.30) + (6 * 0.25) + (7 * 0.20) + (6 * 0.15) + (5 * 0.10) = 6.25 

 

Step 6: Make the decision Based on the weighted scores, repairing existing roads (6.25) has a higher score than building a new road (4.85). Therefore, the data-driven decision would be to repair existing roads. 

Remember, this is just a hypothetical example, and the actual data and weights will vary depending on the specific community and its preferences. This framework can be easily adapted to other community decisions, such as choosing between different public transportation options or evaluating park improvement projects. 


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