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Current Issue: Smart Transportation Metrics for Smart Growth

July/August 2016

Does your community use conventional vehicle Level of Service (LOS) standards to evaluate development and transportation projects? If so, you might be unintentionally promoting design that leads to more sprawl, less walkability, more vehicle travel, and inefficient public transit.

While LOS can be a valuable metric, many communities are supplementing LOS with other important metrics that better capture community values and allow decision makers to more clearly evaluate tradeoffs between competing priorities.

This PAS Memo describes the unintended consequences of over-reliance on LOS; summarizes several alternative or additional emerging metrics; highlights some of the technical challenges with implementing new metrics; and provides three case studies of communities that have recently implemented, or are evaluating, comprehensive changes to the way in which they measure their transportation system performance.

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