Definition – Decision making is the act or process of making decisions, by whatever means.
Evidence-based decision-making is intended to help policy makers maximise the benefits of their investments and to prevent investment in measures or projects that fail to address critical problems. Ideally, decisions should be based on the ex-ante appraisal of the predicted effects of a plan, measure or package of measures. There is a tendency in transport decision making to assess measures more narrowly, based on pre-conceptions and with a focus on direct economic effects, an approach which can favour traditional transport measures.
Relevance to SUMP – In SUMP, the decision maker is typically an organisation (e.g. a committee of the city council) or person in a high-level position (e.g. mayor or senior executive), with the responsibility to adopt a SUMP or approve a measure. Decision making usually comes after the use of various project management and participation tools. The main characteristics of SUMP preparation, including participation, integration and consideration of external costs for all modes, should extend through to the decision-making stage. For example, engaging citizens and a wide range of stakeholders through a participation process in the preparation of a SUMP is viewed as fundamental to ensuring the legitimacy and quality of the decisions made. Moreover, public authorities should ensure maximum transparency and enable more democratic, participatory decision making processes. For example, a referendum vote could be held in relation to the approval of major transport measures.
Source: Oxford Dictionaries (online); Guidemaps, 2004