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communities, as well as the range of data needed for making transportation decisions that support community livability. Data needed by communities involved in decision making might include both socioeconomic and environmental statistics. Transportation data for sound decision making related to the broader goal of planning livable communities can come from a variety of sources ranging from local to national and spanning the public and private sectors.
The committee’s formal statement of task was as follows:
The committee will convene a workshop to identify the data, including geo-spatial data, and performance measures needed to make local and regional decisions on transportation, land use planning, and economic development. Based on the results of the workshop, the committee will undertake the following additional tasks: (1) review the availability and usefulness of data and performance measures to enhance “livability” or quality of life; (2) identify opportunities for meeting data needs and improving the decision-support systems; and (3) review the plans of federal agencies for developing these measures and making needed data available to the public.
To honor the breadth of the charge within its time and resource constraints, the committee decided to examine the idea of livability as a goal for communities; to discuss issues surrounding the choice of livability indicators and the measurement of those characteristics; and to provide information on the use and availability of relevant data for public decision making. Additionally, the committee identified opportunities for meeting data needs and improving decision-support systems, and reviewed the plans of federal agencies for making needed data available to the public.
Performance indicators rely on many of the same data and types of data that the committee discussed in detail, in terms of identifying indicators of livability. Choosing among possible performance measures is similar to choosing among sets of indicators; indeed, performance measures must be defined in terms of the indicators of change that they mean to measure. Proper performance measures and appropriate and useful decision-support tools vary with the community and the project.
This report offers general guidelines about the qualities and characteristics that define well-considered measures and tools, as well as an appendix on federal data sources describing the range of current research on community-based performance measures of livability and decision-support tools for increasing public participation in planning.
The 1990s marked a surge in societal interest in planning and building livable communities and a growing commitment on the part of the federal government to provide the support and information that communities need for sustainable development. At the local, state, and federal levels, efforts were geared toward the inclusion in the decision-making