Identification of Essential Descriptors in Spatial Socioeconomic Impact Assessment Modeling: a Case Study of Highway Broadening in Sikkim Himalaya

  • Polash BanerjeeEmail author
  • Mrinal Kanti Ghose
  • Ratika Pradhan


Identifying the right set of socioeconomic descriptors (SEDs) during the spatial analysis of a socioeconomic impact assessment (SEIA) is pivotal for a reliable impact modeling. For this, methods like factor analysis and sensitivity analysis can be used. As a case study, the spatial socioeconomic impact assessment model (SSEIAM) of the broadening of highway NH 10 in the East district of Sikkim is used to emphasize this issue. Principal component analysis (PCA) is used to identify the most important SEDs contributing to the composite impact estimated by SSEIAM. Furthermore, spatially explicit sensitivity analysis (SESA) is performed to identify the model sensitivity to SED weights. SSEIAM is a GIS-based model that relies on experts’ opinion and peoples’ perception of the impacts of the project on the SEDs. The model uses weighted linear combination (WLC) of kriging-generated SED surfaces to prepare the composite impact map. PCA indicates that farming activities, health facilities, traditional values, demographic profile, tourism, and land use and land value are the major contributors to the variance in the descriptor space. SESA shows that SSEIAM is robust. However, land use and land value and farming activities contribute most to the perturbations of the composite impact value. This suggests that model variable identification is a crucial step towards impact modeling.


Analytic hierarchy process Socioeconomic impact assessment Geographic information systems Principal component analysis Spatially explicit sensitivity analysis Highway 



Analytic hierarchy process


Environmental impact assessment


Land use and land value


Mean absolute change rate


Multi-criteria decision-making


One factor at a time


Principal component analysis


Principal component(s)


Socioeconomic descriptor(s)


Spatial socioeconomic impact assessment model


Socioeconomic impact assessment


Spatially explicit sensitivity analysis


Weighted linear combination


Compliance with Ethical Standards

The authors abide by the ethical standards of the journal.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

The manuscript is in abidance with the academic and publication ethics.

Informed Consent

The authors have taken due consents for the competent authorities for preparation and communication of this study.

Supplementary material

41651_2019_27_MOESM1_ESM.docx (15 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 14.5 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Sikkim Manipal Institute of TechnologySikkim Manipal UniversityMajitarIndia
  2. 2.Department of Computer ApplicationsSikkim UniversityGangtokIndia
  3. 3.Department of Computer Applications, Sikkim Manipal Institute of TechnologySikkim Manipal UniversityMajitarIndia

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