Accounting for end-user preferences in earthquake early warning systems

Thomas Le Guenan, Farid Smai, Annick Loschetter, Samuel Auclair, Daniel Monfort, Nicolas Taillefer, John Douglas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
118 Downloads (Pure)


Earthquake early warning systems (EEWSs) that rapidly trigger risk-reduction actions after a potentially-damaging earthquake is detected are an attractive tool to reduce seismic losses. One brake on their implementation in practice is the difficulty in setting the threshold required to trigger pre-defined actions: set the level too high and the action is not triggered before potentially-damaging shaking occurs and set the level too low and the action is triggered too readily. Balancing these conflicting requirements of an EEWS requires a consideration of the preferences of its potential end users. In this article a framework to define these preferences, as part of a participatory decision making procedure, is presented. An aspect of this framework is illustrated for a hypothetical toll bridge in a seismically-active region, where the bridge owners wish to balance the risk to people crossing the bridge with the loss of toll revenue and additional travel costs in case of bridge closure. Multi-attribute utility theory (MAUT) is used to constrain the trigger threshold for four owners with different preferences. We find that MAUT is an appealing and transparent way of aiding the potentially controversial decision of what level of risk to accept in EEW.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297–319
Number of pages23
JournalBulletin of Earthquake Engineering
Issue number1
Early online date8 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • earthquake early warning (EEW)
  • decision making
  • end-user preferences
  • bridges
  • thresholds
  • multi-attribute utility theory (MAUT)


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