Teaching multi-criteria decision making based on sustainability factors applied to road projects

Gabriela Paredes, Rodrigo F. Herrera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Currently, there is a need for civil engineering programs to train their students in subjects associated with sustainability. Additionally, civil engineers in their work must constantly make decisions, so their training is necessary. Therefore, the goal of this research is to present a methodology for teaching multi-criteria decision-making methods in the context of civil engineering and road infrastructure projects using sustainable factors. To achieve the objective of this study, a decision-making simulation activity has been designed based on a five-step research process: (1) definition and contextualization of the case study; (2) design and planning of the simulation activity; (3) implementation of this activity; (4) evaluation of indicators; and (5) statistical analysis of metrics. The teaching methodology used is of a practical-theoretical type and allows for the step-by-step teaching of three multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) methods that, according to the literature review, are widely used in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry. This teaching activity is intended for undergraduate students and professionals in the AEC industry who require a decision-making tool that promotes transparency in problem-solving and who have no knowledge of MCDM. The results obtained in this research show that the method perceived by the group of students with the least difficulty was the weighting rating and calculating (WRC), because of its previous familiarity and use in academic environments. It is recommended that MCDM methods be taught in semester courses to students in training so that they can develop a deep understanding of these tools and can demonstrate their usefulness for decision making where there are many variables to consider, where there are many decision-makers, and for the incorporation of sustainable factors for project evaluation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8930
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number21
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • Civil engineering
  • Decision making
  • MCDM
  • Road projects
  • Sustainability


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