Future Strategies Prioritization
Like many cities throughout the country, Raleigh is faced with tight financial constraints,
increased environmental regulatory compliance requirements, the need to devote increased
resources to renewing and replacing aging existing infrastructure, and the desire to reduce
carbon emissions from city operations. These drivers, along with increased stakeholder
interest in making certain that funding resources are applied to projects that add the most
value, supported the development of a strategies prioritization process that is explicit about
the value that is contributed by a future strategy and documents the relative efficiency of
potential strategies toward meeting the City’s and CEAP’s goals and objectives.
While the CEAP is not a capital planning document, the principles of prioritization, as
detailed in the
Capital Planning Strategy Manual (
a capital planning guidance document
developed for water and wastewater utilities that was released by the American Water
Works Association Research Foundation (AWWARF, 2001)), are applicable. There are three
primary levels of prioritization for capital projects:
Level 1 - Voting.
Voting often seems to be a form of consensus; however, voting,
without good education and supporting information, often reflects the bias of the
voters and may not reflect the highest benefit to the organization and its stakeholders.
Level 2 - Matrix.
This is appropriate for systems where there is a relatively short list
of projects, and very few objectives that are fairly straightforward.
Level 3 - Decision Analysis.
For decisions that involve multiple stakeholders with
different interests, a transparent process is required. A multi-criteria analysis (MCA)
approach, where criteria are weighted, provides the foundation for comparing the
relative contribution of a project toward meeting the stated goals.
The City elected to use the decision analysis approach to prioritization, in order to provide
greater precision for weighting CEAP goals through weighted decision criteria and scoring
the contribution of potential strategies to meeting the City’s goals. This approach has been
found preferable to traditional voting and matrix methods for prioritizing projects by an
increasing number of local governments as it provides an explicit statement of the
prioritization criteria and their relative importance. This approach is based upon the
methods and tools developed for the
Capital Planning Strategy Manual
AAWARF, 2001).
Strategy Prioritization Approach
The prioritization approach uses a ‘decision analysis’ method for scoring and prioritizing
potential projects. As part of this method, a prioritization framework was developed that is
specific to the CEAP and this framework served as the basis for which future strategies were
screened. Key steps in the prioritization approach included:
Developing a CEAP-specific prioritization framework
Identification of decision criteria and their importance or weighting
Selecting strategies for prioritization
Scoring of selected strategies