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A problem-oriented categorisation of FTA-methods for transport planning

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PurposeAs in other socio-technical fields, future-oriented technology analysis (FTA) methods are used in transport planning to provide knowledge for decision-making. Potential effects of policy interventions should be assessed; risk and uncertainties should be reduced; unintended effects should be avoided. A variety of tools and methods of rather different character are applied, none of these methods are able to systematically reproduce a complete system; they all have their specific limits. It is not always clear, however, which method could be used for which purpose. In this paper, a transparent and problem-oriented categorisation of FTA-methods is suggested. It aims at supporting an appropriate usage of FTA-methods in planning processes. Design/methodology/approachA literature review carried out in context of the EU funded transport project OPTIC (see www.optic.toi.no) reveals that differentiating between different types of uncertainty is possible. This sets the basis for the problem-oriented categorisation of FTA methods. Key criteria for the categorisation of methods are their abilities in dealing with different types of missing knowledge. FindingsTwo categories are introduced which are called "structurally open methods" and "structurally closed methods". It is shown that the openness-closedness dichotomy is highly important for the type of unintended effects that can be detected with a method. Originality/valueThe paper has a novel approach for structuring FTA techniques that goes beyond the traditional quantitative/qualitative approach. It juxtaposes a problem typology and a typology of methods
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Keywords: FTA methods; Risks; Strategic planning; Transport planning; Uncertainties; Uncertainty management; Unintended effects

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-07-20

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