Developing Context-sensitive Livability Indicators for Transportation Planning: A Measurement Framework

Journal of Transport GeographyJournal of Transport Geography, Volume 26, January 2013, Pages 51–64

Harvey J. Miller, Frank Witlox, and Calvin P. Tribby


  • Community livability concepts are receiving new emphases in transportation planning.
  • This paper provides a framework for constructing quantitative livability indicators.
  • We critically review indicator construction methods based on multicriteria analysis.
  • We discuss methods for capturing diverse stakeholder perspectives and geographic context.
  • We also discuss strategies for integrating indicators into transportation planning.

“New emphases on livability and sustainability are creating demands for measuring and applying these concepts in transportation policy and planning. However, livability and sustainability are complex, multidimensional concepts that require careful measurement if they are to be applied meaningfully in plan evaluation and benchmarking.


Conceptual foundation of multidimensional indicators.

“This paper provides a framework for constructing and applying quantitative livability and sustainability indicators. In addition to critically reviewing principles of constructing indicators describing a multidimensional concept such as livability or sustainability, we also discuss methods for capturing local context, a critical feature for transportation planning. Specifically, we review methods for incorporating diverse stakeholder perspectives into indicator construction and spatial analytic tools for geographic entities and relationships. We also discuss spatial decision support systems and the Geodesign concept for organizing these tools and technologies as well as integrating livability indicators into the overall planning process.”