ingly being used; crosscutting measures in Table 1.2 are drawn from community livability, sustainability, or healthy city plans created by federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, state planning agencies, city governments, community councils, county health departments, and nonprofit organizations from both the United States and Canada.
An example of such a transportation-related livability measure is Pedestrian Friendly Streets (Hart, 1998a) used by the City of Richmond in British Columbia as well as by Sustainable Seattle. This indicator measured the length and proportion of major streets that met the city’s minimum standard: a sidewalk on one or both sides of the street. In addition, it measured streets that met a higher standard where the street and sidewalk were separated by a tree-lined median or parking row to cut noise and increase safety for pedestrians.
When the City of Richmond began tracking this indicator in 1990, many of its streets did not meet the official minimum standard, and none met the higher standard. However, by the late 1990s, after the indicator had called attention to this issue, a majority of streets had been improved to meet the minimum standard, and one-fifth of the streets actually met the higher standard. This sort of indicator, which addresses the extent to which the city’s transportation infrastructure encourages walking, speaks simultaneously to economic, social, and environmental concerns: more pedestrian traffic on major commercial streets stimulates retail activity, encourages social interaction and exercise, reduces risk of traffic accidents, and can reduce automobile use and thus air pollution emissions. This indicator could also be usefully elaborated by considering the extent to which pedestrian-friendly streets actually link neighborhoods to commercial districts.
This example serves to illustrate the importance of indicator selection. The choice of indicators is critical to enabling community members, planners, and decision makers to focus on the desired outcomes of transportation, land use, and economic development decisions and then to measure the attributes of livability that result from their actions.
At a broader regional scale, in Charlottesville, Virginia, the Thomas Jefferson Sustainability Council has created a set of livability indicators for the Thomas Jefferson District Planning Council, the region’s council of government (Box 1.4). Part of a broader indicators program, their transportation indicators are linked to critical goals and to a series of innovative indicators similar to those in Table 1.2. All of these indicators reflect livability concerns.
Given a goal of facilitating the circulation of people, goods, services and information through integrated systems that minimize adverse im