Proceedings of the 53rd Annual Meeting of the ISSS - 2009, Brisbane, Australia, Proceedings of the 53rd Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences

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Decision Simulation Technique (DST) as a scanning tool for exploring and explicating sustainability issues in transport decision making

Sara Lise Jeppesen


This paper places focus on explicit consideration of sustainability issues in transport decision making by presenting and using a developed “Decision Simulation Technique” (DST). This technique can be used by an analyst to ‘scan’ a transport planning problem with regard to what in DST terms is called a sustainability strategy. This scanning can serve the purpose of informing a group of decision makers before they actually have to deal with, for example, the choice among a number of alternatives that have all been formulated as being relevant. The main focus of the paper is to illustrate how the DST can indicate which one from the set of alternatives will in fact be the ‘best’ seen from the viewpoint of a sustainability strategy, before they are all scrutinised by the decision makers. The paper consists of three parts. The first part describes the various concepts and elements of the DST together with the principal steps that have to be followed when applying it on a concrete case. In the second part the potential of the DST is demonstrated by its use within an ongoing study. Thus the DST is applied on a new rail investment study on a section with four alternatives being part of a proposed new high speed rail line in Southern Sweden. The third part of the paper is concerned with a principal discussion of incorporation of sustainability in transport planning. It is argued that ‘explicating’-techniques such as the DST compared to more traditional ways of doing this – here denominated implicit consideration of sustainability – can be useful for many different planning problems where the treated rail case is just one example. Finally, the paper offers some conclusions and a perspective on the future use and development of the DST.

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