Multiattribute Utility Theory and Environmental Decisions

by John P. Collins, (M.ASCE), Dir.; Navy Environmental Support Office, Port Hueneme, Calif.,
Eugene A. Glysson, (F.ASCE), Prof.; Dept.of Civ.Engrg., Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Environmental Engineering Division, 1980, Vol. 106, Issue 4, Pg. 815-830

Document Type: Journal Paper


The evaluative framework describes systems in terms of environmental attributes, components, and measureable parameters. Indicators of pollution levels called numeraires, are constructed to represent one or more parameters. Utility functions, reflective of the desirability of pollution levels, are developed for each numeraire. Scaling constants are assessed to reflect relative numeraire importance and determine whether the multiattribute utility function is additive or multiplicative. The developed function serves as an Environmental Quality Index (EQI) and is utilized in conjunction with a visual performance profile for presenting analytical results. For each alternative, cumulative distribution functions (CDF's) are developed for numeraires to express the reality of uncertain solid waste environmental outcomes. Assessed scaling values indicate a multiplicative (nonadditive) EQI form is appropriate for solid waste disposal systems.

Subject Headings: Environmental issues | Parameters (statistics) | Pollution | Fouling | Solid mechanics | Solid wastes | Frames | Chemical additives

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