EAST WEST FREIGHT ROUTE
EAST WEST FREIGHT ROUTE
1st Workshop - 2 March 2002
2nd Workshop - 11 May 2002
The Freight Network Review was established to enable the community,
industry, state and local government to work together to develop a new,
sustainable framework for freight movement in the metropolitan area.
Perth, like many capital cities, has been facing an increasing freight
task, together with increasing population growth, often with a conflict
of interest between the two. The community has become increasingly
vocal about the impacts of freight on their safety, their property
values, their environment and their quality of life. Business and
industry have become increasingly vocal about the importance of
efficient freight movement to the State's economy.
The Port of Fremantle is a critical freight node. The proposals for
the east west route to the Port have been fraught with problems. For a
decade, community groups have been fighting against the proposed route
of the new road, Roe Highway, through metropolitan wetlands. Similarly,
conflicting community and economic interests have seen the proposed
Fremantle Eastern By-pass, a link road, eliminated from the plans by
the Labor Government, reinstituted by the Liberal Government, and again
removed by the incoming Labor Government.
The first Freight Network Congress in June 2002, recommended a more
rigorous application of social, environmental and economic values to
freight route designations. One of the Congress sub teams, the
Sustainability Working Party, recommended the use of a transparent
method of triple bottom line accounting, using a Multi Criteria
Analysis, for determining freight initiatives.
Specifically, they recommended that this methodology be applied to
determining the best options for Roe Highway Stages 7 and 8 and
alternative to the Fremantle Eastern By-pass. An independent
consultant, experienced in Multi Criteria Analysis both in Australia
and abroad, was recommended to carry out the process
Multi Criteria Analysis Conference
A Multi Criteria Analysis is a decision-aiding technique to analyse
alternatives to complex problems using weighted triple bottom line
criteria that are developed by all stakeholders. The end result is the
'best fit' option.
The process is systematic, structured, open and accountable. It
engages all key stakeholders with their differing objectives. Both
technical data and value judgements are used to reach a preference.
The MCA process has four key components:
- A set of alternative options
- A set of criteria for comparing the alternatives
- Weighting to attach a measure of importance to each criteria
- A method of ranking the alternatives based on how well they
satisfy the criteria
The process involves four key steps:
MCA Conference Aim
- Preparation and involvement of the community from the start;
- An initial Workshop of all participants to determine the options
Expert Panel to oversee the quantitative data and to rate the
qualitative data, with both sets of data being input to a specialised
- A second Workshop of all participants to
weight the criteria according to their importance. Using both the
quantitative and qualitative data, together with the value judgement
weightings, the computer software determines the best options.
To determine the best option for an east-west route from Roe Highway
Stage 6 through to the port.
MCA Conference Constraint
It was stated from the outset of the Review that the Labor
Government would not alter its commitment to delete the Fremantle
Eastern By-Pass from the Metropolitan Region Scheme. Participants were
requested to find an alternative to the By-pass. This constraint caused
considerable concern among some participants throughout the
MCA Steering Group
A Steering Group of community, industry and government
representatives was established to oversee the MCA process. The
Steering Group signed off on the final list of options, criteria and
MCA Conference Representation
All 120 Congress participants were invited to attend the MCA
Workshops. Eighty participated, attending both Workshops. Participants
were seated at facilitated tables of ten.
The Expert Panel consisted of 15 members, including
professional, academic, industry and community people with
environmental, economic and social value skills.
Public input to Options
Through advertisements in weekly and Saturday newspapers, members of
the public were invited to submit suggested route options. There were
120 submissions. These varied from the status quo to highly creative
solutions involving bridges, tunnels and alternatives to roads. The
public suggestions were analysed by the Department for Planning and
Infrastructure, and a synopsis of potential routes was developed.
MCA Workshop 1
At the first Workshop, held on 2 March 2002, the MCA consultant
explained each of the steps in the process and the methods of scoring
options. The Dept. for Planning and Infrastructure presented the
synopsis of the public options, as well as several options previously
developed by Main Roads WA. Maps outlining each of the options were
available on each table.
Workshop participants then developed additional options. In total,
twenty one options were identified, comprising five options for Roe
Highway Stage 7, two options for freight only roads, eight options to
upgrade existing roads between Kwinana Freeway and Stock Road, and six
options for new Roe Highway Stage 8 alignments.
Finally, triple bottom line (economic, social and environmental)
criteria were developed by the Workshop. These were the criteria to be
used to evaluate each option. In total, thirty nine criteria were
Each criterion was defined by the Workshop. Where a criterion was
still not sufficiently clear for rating, the Expert Panel proposed a
clarification. In each instance, the Steering Team agreed to the final
definition. The altered wording was given to participants prior to
Workshop 2 and was discussed briefly at the Workshop.
MCA Expert Panel
The Expert Panel members received comprehensive documentation,
including reports, documents, expert opinion and raw data required to
make a reasoned assessment. Consultants and other experts were
available to answer any questions. Additional data was gathered when
requested. The Expert Panel met several times over a three month period
to evaluate the options against the criteria.
Where quantitative data was available (eg number of houses
demolished, costs, CO2 emissions, hectares of bushland impacted),
Expert Panel members overviewed it for accuracy and reliability. Where
only qualitative scoring was feasible (eg impact on safety, impact on
endangered species, disruption), Expert Panel members scored the
options against the criteria.
MCA Workshop 2
Before the second Workshop, the final list of options, criteria and
definitions were distributed to all participants. At the Workshop, held
on 11 May 2002, participants discussed the information received, and
individually weighted each criterion according to its importance. To
enable a sensitivity analysis of particular groupings, participants
divided into four groups to input their data � those who in this
instance were putting the greatest emphasis on social, economic,
environmental, or all criteria.
Following the computer analysis, the preferential ordering of
options was displayed and discussed.
The original proposed route for Roe Highway stages 7 and 8 was not
the preferred route. Indeed, the solution relied on using the existing
roads more effectively rather than building new roads. Even when
analysed according to participants� social, economic, environmental or
combined interests, the preferential top rankings did not significantly
Overall, participant feedback on the process was very positive. Many
suggested that this process should become institutionalised for freight
route designations. Some, however, remained perturbed that the
Fremantle Eastern By-pass was not considered as an option. Others,
representing economic interests, were dissatisfied with the preferred
option, which they believed was not capable of handling the increasing
freight load. Notably, however, as a group, they too had not given
preference to the originally proposed routes for Roe Highway stages 7
Given the large number of options and criteria developed, the
workload for the Departmental support team to provide the data to rate
each option against each criterion, was considerably greater than
originally expected. Similarly, the workload for the volunteer Expert
Panel was larger than anticipated. This resulted in far higher costs
than expected, and caused the second Workshop to be delayed for six
A debriefing session was held of the Steering Group and Expert
Panel. A large number of suggestions were made for consideration in
future processes including:
- Participation - two viewpoints were expressed. Participants
suggested including fewer people with balanced representation. The MCA
consultant suggested not limiting attendance at all, including
community members who had not participated in the earlier two day
- Timing - allowing more time at Workshop 1 for the
definitions of the criteria to be discussed. Much of this work had to
be completed after the Workshop, following up wherever possible with
those who had suggested the options.
- Limiting options and
criteria - with 21 options and 39 criteria, the reality of time
constraints meant that scoring was done quickly in some instances, and
was hugely costly in others. One possible solution was to group options
into like types so 'strategic evaluation' could have been carried out.
An alternative suggestion was to have a 'no go' option for each
criterion, so options that would clearly not survive a triple bottom
line analysis could be disallowed without further analysis. The MCA
consultant, however, thought otherwise - that the value in the process
was the opportunity it gave to find unrestricted, creative alternatives.
Although the participants of the Multi Criteria Analysis accepted
the outcomes of the Workshops as fair and reasonable, this could not be
said for the wider community of varying vested interests. For several
years, a paper war has raged in the local press between those who
support the originally proposed freight route and those who support the
changes recommended by the Congress. It has remained a political issue.