This report, published by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute in September 2012, provides guidance on the use of indicators for sustainable and livable transportation planning. It defines sustainability and livability, discusses sustainable development and sustainable transport concepts, and how sustainability indicators can be applied in transport evaluation and planning. It describes factors to consider when selecting sustainable transportation indicators, identifies examples of indicators and indicator sets, and provides recommendations for selecting sustainable transport indicators for use in a particular situation.
There is growing interest in the concepts of sustainability, livability, sustainable development and sustainable transportation.
Sustainability generally refers to a balance of economic, social and environmental goals, including those that involve long-term, indirect and non-market impacts. Livability refers to the subset of sustainability goals that directly affect community members. Sustainability reflects the fundamental human desire to protect and improve our earth. It emphasizes the integrated nature of human activities and therefore the need for coordinated decisions among different sectors, groups and jurisdictions. Sustainability planning (also called comprehensive planning) expands the objectives, impacts and options considered in a planning process, which helps insure that individual, short-term decisions are consistent with strategic, long-term goals.
Sustainability and livability are generally evaluated using indicators, which are specific variables suitable for quantification (measurement). Such indicators are useful for identifying trends, predicting problems, setting targets, evaluating solutions and measuring progress. Which indicators are selected can significantly influence analysis results. A particular policy may seem beneficial and desirable if evaluated using one set of indicators but harmful and undesirable according to others. It is therefore important that people involved in sustainability planning understand the assumptions and perspectives of the performance indicators they apply.
This paper explores concepts related to the definition of sustainable and livable transportation and the selection of indicators suitable for policy analysis and planning. It discusses various definitions of sustainability, livability, and sustainable transport, describes the role of indicators for policy making and planning, discusses factors to consider when selecting indicators, identifies potential problems with conventional transport planning indicators, describes examples of indicators and indicator sets, and provides recommendations for selecting indicators for use in a particular situation.