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Step 2: Selecting Evaluation Criteria

Step 2 Summary

View the full Scenario Planning Guidelines (PDF).

Step 2 discusses how to measure success by creating guiding principles and translating them into a set of evaluation criteria to measure scenario outputs. While the reduction of GHG emissions will be a central evaluation criterion, measuring and communicating other important local priorities and criteria will be essential to garnering widespread community interest.

Develop Guiding Principles

Guiding principles are broadly stated objectives or precepts to guide the scenario planning process. Developing a set of guiding principles will help to identify and prioritize evaluation criteria that will be used later to assess and compare scenarios.

Below are four examples of guiding principles, a full sample list is located in the Technical Appendix.
  • The transportation network should ensure efficient and cost effective movement of goods and people.
  • The transportation network will ensure safe and timely access to housing, jobs, shopping, services, and recreation.
  • The metropolitan region promotes a full-range of housing types to fit every income, household and preference.
  • Ensure there are parks, trails and open spaces that are easily accessible to residents throughout the community.

Establish Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation criteria should address a range of community objectives such as public health, a stronger local economy, average household fuel expenditures, access to transit, access to bicycle and pedestrian paths and trails, and preservation of natural areas, as well as GHG reduction. 

The evaluation criteria will be used to gauge big-picture items such as the amount of daily driving or the potential consumption of land. Objective evaluation of scenarios will provide a general sense of the potential impacts of actions and programs, such as those described in the Oregon GHG Reduction Toolkit, as they pertain to the goals set forth in the guiding principles.

Recommended Evaluation Criteria, Corresponding Unit of Measure and Source (JPG).
Potential Evaluation Criteria
The evaluation criteria will be used to track a range of potential outcomes expressed by the scenarios and evaluated through the sketch planning tool and Metropolitan GreenSTEP. It will be helpful to carry forward some of the evaluation criteria the metropolitan area is currently using into the scenario planning process. Using Metropolitan GreenSTEP and a sketch planning tool, the scenario comparison can include measures such as:
  • Residential and transportation-related GHG emissions
  • Land consumption
  • Land use patterns (e.g., housing and job distribution, density)
  • Mobility (e.g., delay and travel times)
  • Travel behavior (e.g., vehicle miles traveled, walking, bicycling, transit ridership, carpooling, drive alone trips)
  • Mobility corridor performance and regional travel patterns.
Recommended Evaluation Criteria
The process of comparing multiple future scenarios should employ a set of criteria that addresses the full range of needs and desires expressed through the guiding principles.

The final set of evaluation criteria should be drawn from measures established in existing plans, and calculated by Metropolitan GreenSTEP and the chosen sketch planning tool. The accompanying table presents a suggested set of criteria likely to support the selected guiding principles.

Link Guiding Principles and Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation criteria can help community members and stakeholders understand the benefits or trade-offs of a scenario as they relate to guiding principles. In some instances, evaluation criteria can be used to assess the performance of a scenario in relation to more than one guiding principle. 

Emerging Indicators

The practice of linking community goals to measurable evaluation criteria is expanding as modern technology introduces new data and tools for analysis.  

Refine Evaluation Criteria

It is likely that a large number of evaluation criteria will be employed for the technical scenario analysis. However, when communicating the results of the scenario comparisons with residents of the community, the list should be pared down. Key criteria, most closely linked to the highest priority guiding principles, should be identified.