In an effort to improve decision making for future regional arterial and bridge investments, a more holistic and data-driven approach is required. The Arterial and Bridge Needs Assessment will deliver a dynamic platform to help us and our member agencies answer complex questions about the need for arterial and bridge investments. The platform will also provide analytical tools to assess project impact, scope, and opportunity cost. By using a combination of our internal databases and collaborating with our member agencies, we strive to provide accurate, updated, and actionable information through this platform.

Transportation Performance Program Manager
Ted Brown

Since 2002, needs and priorities in the region have changed. An informed and dynamic tool is needed for the next iteration of arterial investments.

What is this Project?

The project is an opportunity to provide a dynamic platform to answer complex questions about future arterial and bridge investments. The goals of the project include creating a centrally accessible data warehouse, provide cross-jurisdictional data for project comparison and create analytical tools for MAG's member agencies. This project is also another opportunity for MAG to be directly responsive to the data needs/requests of its member agencies.

What this Project is Not

A qualititative analysis. This project is data-driven. It is also not a replace for the project prioritization tools adapted from federal sources and approved by the MAG committees. We will endeavor to incorporate scoring metrics from those tools for easy comparison.

More importantly, this project is not a list of arterial and bridge projects to fund over 20 years.

Our consultant for the project is under contract for 18 months. The graphic below depicts an estimated timeline for this project.

Arterial and Bridge Needs Assessment Timeline

The first meeting for the member agencies occured on March, 21, 2019. Staff from thirteen member agencies participated. The kickoff meeting covered a wide variety of topics. The presentation and meeting minutes are posted below.

Kickoff Meeting Presentation
Kickoff Meeting Minutes

This meeting was an opportunity to brainstorm ideas for what type and kind of data should be included in the platorm. This was not the only opportunity for member agencies to provide their input though it was an important first step.

On July 23, 2019, a criteria refinement meeting was held in the Ironwood room at the MAG offices. Seventeen member agencies participated in a robust discussion to select draft criterion that will be used in the initial development of the platform. The project stakeholders also received an update on the literature review being conducted by the consultant team, as well as a brief discussion about spatial referencing systems. The presentation and meeting meetings are posted below.


Criteria Refinement Meeting Minutes



Criteria Refinement Meeting Presentation


At the July 23, 2019 ABNA project stakeholder meeting, MAG and its member agency representatives identified a draft set of criteria for scoring regional arterial and bridge needs. These criteria will be incorporated into a web-based research tool that brings together arterial and bridge performance data to help MAG member agencies identify candidate project locations and scopes. To enable this process and guide decision-makers to the highest priority need locations, multiple objective decision analysis (MODA) principles are being leveraged by MAG staff and the consultant team. MODA enables policy makers to develop a representative score that can be used to evaluate diverse alternatives on a comparable basis.

What is MODA?

Multiple Objective Decision Analysis is an industry-standard best practice for transparently evaluating cross-discipline performance considderations on a level-laying-field in alignment with agency priorities. Steps include:

  • Identifying evaluation criteria
  • Weighting relative importance of criteria
  • Rating alternatives against criteria
  • Scoring alternatives based on an amalgamation of weighted, normative ratings
  • Optimizing the selection of alternatives amidst constraints
  • Exploring performance implications of different policy decisions

One key component of MODA is the establishment of priority weights that are reflective of the perceived relative importance of criteria towards the overall decision. Attendees at the September 19, 2019 workshop were tasked with establishing these priority weights by way of completing a pairwise comparison survey. Voting participants were asked to make judgments between pairs of criteria on the directionality and degree of relative importance of one criterion over another. These judgments were then aggregated and translated to a set of representative weights. These draft weights will serve as default inputs for the web-based research tool and revisited upon evaluating their effectiveness in identifying high priority locations for candidate projects.

We’ll be working through the holiday season to produce a working prototype of the web-based research tool. Our next stakeholder group meeting is tentatively scheduled for March 2020.

About MAG

The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) is a Council of Governments (COG) that serves as the regional planning agency for the metropolitan Phoenix area.

Title VI

Title VI requires that no person in the United States of America shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity for which MAG receives federal financial assistance.

Get in Touch

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    Phoenix, Arizona 85003

  • Phone: (602) 254-6300

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