monly used. Benchmark measures typically focus on the physical infrastructure. An excellent example of a different approach is the Aurora Partnership, a public-private collaboration to stimulate the development of decision-support tools, services, and systems and the application of spatial data for natural resource and environmental management (http://aurorapartnership.org). It seeks to address the needs of policy makers, land and resource managers, and county and community leaders. The four principles of the Aurora Partnership, formed in 1998, are the following:
Support existing and new partnerships at local, regional, and national levels.
Adopt a perspective of place-based management incorporating other user needs in addition to those associated with natural resources and the environment.
Focus on decision processes and stakeholder involvement as well as technology and software.
Provide a national forum for the exchange of decision-support knowledge.
Although the practice of transportation planning is technically sophisticated, it tends to be focused on travel and traffic outputs and does not pay much attention to sustainability and livability indicators. Most of the standard tools are not easy to use and require special training and experience available only to the most technically sophisticated agencies.
Since the 1980s, decision makers, planners, and community members have stressed the importance of a multimodal and intermodal perspective on transportation. Multimodal refers to the inclusion of many modes— highway, transit, railroad, walking, bicycle, and so forth—in deciding how best to meet mobility and access needs. Intermodal refers to the links between modes—a bus-rail station or cargo carried on a ship and then a truck—and the nature of most trips, whether by people or goods.
Decisions based on such modal considerations require integrated databases, which capture both the functional aspects of the modes and how they relate to one another and the relationship between the choice of modes and impacts of transportation investment and service decisions on livability. Indeed, many of the arguments related to the choice of one mode over another are tied directly to crosscutting considerations of livability. For instance, the choice of a highway for a corridor instead of public transit will entail much more fuel consumption and associated environmental impacts, and the highway may well contribute to exurbanization and sprawl. However, the highway choice will provide better service for goods movement, along with associated economic ben