Enhanced Multi Criteria Decision Analysis for Planning Power Transmission Lines

Authors Joram Schito, Ulrike Wissen Hayek, Martin Raubal

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Joram Schito
  • ETH Zurich, Institute of Cartography and Geoinformation, Zurich, Switzerland
Ulrike Wissen Hayek
  • ETH Zurich, Planning of Landscape and Urban Systems, Zurich, Switzerland
Martin Raubal
  • ETH Zurich, Institute of Cartography and Geoinformation, Zurich, Switzerland

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Joram Schito, Ulrike Wissen Hayek, and Martin Raubal. Enhanced Multi Criteria Decision Analysis for Planning Power Transmission Lines. In 10th International Conference on Geographic Information Science (GIScience 2018). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 114, pp. 15:1-15:16, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2018)


The energy transition towards alternative energy sources requires new power transmission lines to connect these additional energy production plants with electricity distribution centers. For this reason, Multi Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) offers a useful approach to determine the optimal path of future transmission lines with minimum impact on the environment, on the landscape, and on affected citizens. As objections could deteriorate such a project and in turn increase costs, transparent communication regarding the planning procedure is required that fosters citizens' acceptance. In this context, GIS-based information on the criteria taken into account and for modeling possible power transmission lines is essential. However, planners often forget that the underlying multi criteria decision model and the used data might lead to biased results. Therefore, this study empirically investigates the effect of various MCDA parameters by applying a sensitivity analysis on a multi criteria decision model. The output of this analysis is evaluated combining a Cluster Analysis, a Principal Component Analysis, and a Multivariate Analysis of Variance. Our results indicate that the variability of different corridor alternatives can be increased by using different MCDA parameter combinations. In particular, we found that applying continuous boundary models on areas leads to more distinct corridor alternatives than using a sharp-edged model, and better reflects actual planning practice for protecting areas against transmission lines. Comparing the results of two study areas, we conclude that our decision model behaved similarly across both sites and, hence, that the proposed procedure for enhancing the decision model is applicable to other study areas with comparable topographies. These results can help decision-makers and transmission line planners in simplifying and improving their decision models in order to increase credibility, legitimacy, and thus practical applicability.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Information systems → Decision support systems
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Transmission Line Planning
  • Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis
  • Sensitivity Analysis
  • Cluster Analysis


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