Analytical Hierarchy Process

The Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) is a structured technique for dealing with complex decisions. Based on mathematics and human psychology, it was developed by Thomas L. Saaty in the 1970s, and has been extensively studied and refined since then. The AHP provides a comprehensive and rational framework for structuring a problem, for representing and quantifying its elements, for relating those elements with respect to an overall goal, and for evaluating alternative solutions. It is used throughout the world in a wide variety of decision situations in fields such as government, business, industry, healthcare, and education. Users of the AHP first decompose their decision problem into a hierarchy of more easily comprehended sub-problems, each of which can be analyzed independently. The elements of the hierarchy can relate to any aspect of the decision problem—tangible or intangible, carefully measured or roughly estimated, well- or poorly-understood—anything at all that applies to the decision at hand. Once the hierarchy is built, the decision makers systematically evaluate its various elements, comparing them to one another in pairs. In making the comparisons, the decision makers can use concrete data about the elements, or they can use their judgments about the elements' relative meaning and importance. It is the essence of the AHP that human judgments, and not just the underlying information, can be used in performing the evaluations. The AHP converts these evaluations to numerical values that can be processed and compared over the entire range of the problem. A numerical weight or priority is derived for each element of the hierarchy, allowing diverse and often incommensurable elements to be compared to one another in a rational and consistent way. This capability distinguishes the AHP from other decision making techniques. In the final step of the process, numerical priorities are derived for each of the decision alternatives. Since these numbers represent the alternatives' relative ability to achieve the decision goal, they allow a straightforward consideration of the various courses of action.

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References

IntroductionPlanning/Decision ContextPlanning And Spatial Decision ProcessSpatial Planning And Decision Problem TypesMethods And Techniques
methods and techniques; methodology
TechnologyData And Domain KnowledgePeople And ParticipationResources