Strategic Options Development and Analysis: The Case of the Brazilian Railways


Phokion ‘Ion’ Georgiou




Fundação Getulio Vargas

Judging by their success in Europe, Asia and North America, passenger and cargo railways are appreciated as the key to infrastructural development in Brazil. The issues are complex and steeped in uncertainty, as well as political and economic agendas, and a wide array of intersecting issues such as business and unionized interests, agricultural and industrial geographical spreads, as well as the emergence of alternative power sources. Not only are the issues systemic, but railway development itself always comes as a physical network structure. The situation under consideration, in other words, is systemic from both the soft and hard systems point of view, thus promising a rich context for systems studies. As an initial attempt in understanding the situation at hand, the research reported here applied the problem structuring approach known as Strategic Options Development and Analysis (SODA) in order to map and analyze issues facing the Brazilian railways. Strategic options for the future development of the railways were identified and analyzed, and ways forward for future research are proposed. In addition, the report serves as an initial knowledge base that can guide future systemic planning studies in the industry.

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