A Selection and Prioritisation Framework for Public Projects

Keith Amos, Alireza Abbasi


The aim of this research is to develop and propose a framework to supplement existing government frameworks for the selection and prioritisation of large public capital projects. The effectiveness of the existing Australian frameworks are tested against three large public projects. Case study analysis indicated Optimism Bias and Focalism were cognitive traits that influenced key decision-making along with legislature structures. The result of the analysis showed the proposed framework is capable of mitigating risks of improper project selection through criterion analysis of quantitative and qualitative measures, however empirical analysis is required to further test assumptions.


Project Selection; Optimism Bias; Capital Investment Appraisal Method; Cost Benefit Analysis; Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis


ACT Auditor General's Office. (2016). Initiation of the Light Rail Project / ACT Audit Office. [Canberra]: Publishing Services, Shared Services, Commerce and Works Directorate, ACT Government.

ACT Government. (2012). City to Gungahlin Transit Corridor Infrastructure Australia Project Submission.

Ashford, R. W., Dyson, R. G., & Hodges, S. D. (1988). The Capital-Investment Appraisal of New Technology: Problems, Misconceptions and Research Directions. The Journal of the Operational Research Society, 39(7), 637-642. doi:10.2307/2582185

Australian National Audit, O. (2017a). The approval and administration of Commonwealth funding for the WestConnex project : Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, Infrastructure Australia / Australian National Audit Office. Barton, ACT: Australian National Audit Office.

Barfod, M. B., & Salling, K. B. (2015). A new composite decision support framework for strategic and sustainable transport appraisals. Transportation Research. Part A: Policy & Practice, 72, 1-15. doi:10.1016/j.tra.2014.12.001

Baumeister, R. F., & Vohs, K. D. (2007). Encyclopedia of social psychology (Vol. 1): Sage.

Beltrán, F. (2014). Fibre-to-the-home, high-speed and national broadband plans: Tales from Down Under. Telecommunications Policy, 38(8), 715-729. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.telpol.2013.08.006

Bhuiyan, N., & Thomson, V. (1999). The use of continuous approval methods in defence acquisition projects. International Journal of Project Management, 17(2), 121-130. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/S0263-7863(98)00011-8

Cheung, K. K., Mirzaei, M., & Leeder, S. (2010). Health policy analysis: a tool to evaluate in policy documents the alignment between policy statements and intended outcomes. Australian Health Review, 34(4), 405-413. doi:https://doi.org/10.1071/AH09767

City to Gungahlin transit corridor : concept design report (April 2012). (2012). Retrieved from [Canberra:

City to Gungahlin transit corridor : concept design report (April 2012) : report / URS; prepared for ACT Government Environment and Sustainable Development. (2012). [Canberra: Environment and Sustainable Development.

Cordier, M., Pérez Agúndez, J. A., O'Connor, M., Rochette, S., & Hecq, W. (2011). Quantification of interdependencies between economic systems and ecosystem services: An input–output model applied to the Seine estuary. Ecological Economics, 70(9), 1660-1671. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2011.04.009

Drury, C., & Tayles, M. (1997). The misapplication of capital investment appraisal techniques. Management Decision, 35(2), 86-93.

Ewusi-Mensah, K., & Przasnyski, Z. H. (1991). On Information Systems Project Abandonment: An Exploratory Study of Organizational Practices. MIS Quarterly, 15(1), 67-86. doi:10.2307/249437

Flyvbjerg, B. (2013). From Nobel prize to project management: getting risks right. arXiv preprint arXiv:1302.3642.

Flyvbjerg, B., Glenting, C., & Rønnest, A. K. (2004). Procedures for dealing with optimism bias in transport planning.

Gallagher, K., & Rattenbury, S. (2012). Parliamentary Agreement for the 8th Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory.

Hensher, D. A., Ho, C., & Mulley, C. (2015). Identifying resident preferences for bus-based and rail-based investments as a complementary buy in perspective to inform project planning prioritisation. Journal of Transport Geography, 46, 1-9.

KPGM. (2015). WestConnex Full Scheme: Economic Appraisal. Retrieved from

Kutsch, E., Maylor, H., Weyer, B., & Lupson, J. (2011). Performers, trackers, lemmings and the lost: Sustained false optimism in forecasting project outcomes — Evidence from a quasi-experiment. International Journal of Project Management, 29(8), 1070-1081. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijproman.2011.01.010

Lee, Y., & Kozar, K. A. (2006). Investigating the effect of website quality on e-business success: An analytic hierarchy process (AHP) approach. Decision Support Systems, 42(3), 1383-1401. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dss.2005.11.005

List, I. P. (2018). Assessment Framework.

Love, P. E. D., Ahiaga-Dagbui, D., Welde, M., & Odeck, J. (2017). Light rail transit cost performance: Opportunities for future-proofing. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 100, 27-39. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tra.2017.04.002

Mackie, P., Worsley, T., & Eliasson, J. (2014). Transport appraisal revisited. Research in Transportation Economics, 47, 3-18.

Marsden, G., & Reardon, L. (2017). Questions of governance:

Rethinking the study of transportation policy. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 101, 238-251.

McFadden, D. (1975). The Revealed Preferences of a Government Bureaucracy: Theory. The Bell Journal of Economics, 6(2), 401-416. doi:10.2307/3003236

Meyer, W. G. (2014). The effect of optimism bias on the decision to terminate failing projects. Project Management Journal, 45(4), 7-20.

Nugus, S. (2006). CIMA Learning System Fundamentals of Business Maths: Elsevier.

Quah, E., & Haldane, J. (2007). Cost-benefit analysis: Routledge.

Ramjerdi, F., & Fearnley, N. (2014). Risk and irreversibility of transport interventions. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 60, 31-39. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tra.2013.10.014

Saaty, R. W. (1987). The analytic hierarchy process—what it is and how it is used. Mathematical Modelling, 9(3), 161-176. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/0270-0255(87)90473-8

Salling, K. B., & Leleur, S. (2015). Accounting for the inaccuracies in demand forecasts and construction cost estimations in transport project evaluation. Transport Policy, 38, 8-18. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tranpol.2014.11.006

Satyasai, K. (2009). Application of modified internal rate of return method for watershed evaluation. Agric. Econ. Res. Rev, 22, 401-406.

Scales, B. (2014). Independent audit : NBN public policy processes : April 2008 - May 2010 / Bill Scales AO. [Canberra, Australian Capital Territory]: [Parliament of Australia].

Sharot, T. (2011). The optimism bias. Current biology, 21(23), R941-R945.

Terrill, M., & Batrouney, H. (2017). etting infrastructure right, one project at a time. Australian Financial Review.

Transport and Infrastructure Council. (2016). Australian Transport Assessment and Planning Guidlines - T3 Wider Economic Benefits. Retrieved from Canberra, Australia:

Treasury, H. M. s. (2014). The Green Book: Appraisal and evaluation in central government. 2003. TSO: London.

Velasquez, M., & Hester, P. T. (2013). An analysis of multi-criteria decision making methods. International Journal of Operations Research, 10(2), 56-66.

Vertigan, M., Deans, A., Ergas, E., & Shaw, T. (2014). Independent cost-benefit analysis of broadband and review of regulation–Volume II–The costs and benefits of high-speed broadband. Vertigan Report, August.

Vickerman, R. (2000). Evaluation methodologies for transport projects in the United Kingdom. Transport Policy, 7(1), 7-16. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/S0967-070X(00)00009-3

Webb, R. (2010). The Commonwealth budget : process and presentation (updated April 2010) / Richard Webb. [Canberra]: Parliament of Australia, Dept. of Parliamentary Services, Parliamentary Library.

Wedley, W. C., Choo, E. U., & Schoner, B. (2001). Magnitude adjustment for AHP benefit/cost ratios. European Journal of Operational Research, 133(2), 342-351. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/S0377-2217(00)00302-7

Full Text: PDF


  • There are currently no refbacks.


The Journal of Modern PM (ISSN: 2317-3963) | info@journalmodernpm.com