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Oregon Mosaic: Value and Cost Informed Planning

Mosaic is a new tool for use in transportation planning developed by the Oregon Department of Transportation in collaboration with local, regional, and statewide stakeholders. The approach offers planners and decision makers an effective and efficient way to evaluate the social, environmental, and economic costs and benefits of transportation actions and investments.

The Mosaic tool offers a common set of measures by which to evaluate options. It helps decision-makers select more cost-effective actions and investments. Mosaic’s approach provides a clear, traceable, and transparent record of the evaluation process, analysis, and decision-making for transportation actions and investments.

Mosaic is designed for planning level analysis and not for project level analysis or project prioritization or selection. Mosaic compares groups of transportation investments (bundles) to one another, but does not work at a fine enough resolution to evaluate individual projects.

Read more background information below or check out the Mosaic Brochure.


Designed to be used frequently throughout the transportation planning process, Mosaic benefits several groups.

Decision makers, such as city council members and planning commission members, benefit by having better information about possible impacts of different transportation decisions. Mosaic helps decision makers see the benefits and costs of potential investment decisions more clearly, making it easier to identify the mix of transportation investments that will provide the most value to their community. Additionally, Mosaic provides the opportunity to work with citizens to agree on decision-making priorities in the transportation system planning process. This is done by deciding, together, what the relative weights among some key indicators (measures of impact) should be.​

With Mosaic, citizen stakeholders provide input on the weights, or relative importance, assigned to indicators. In this way, results reflect the transportation system goals and objectives most important to a particular community. Citizens also benefit from a more transparent transportation decision-making process that considers environmental and social costs and benefits alongside more traditional economic costs and benefits.​

With Mosaic, transportation professionals get an evaluation tool at their fingertips that reflects common transportation goals and Oregon Transportation Plan policy even as it helps tailor decision making to unique community context and goals. Mosaic builds on and improves Oregon's transportation planning process by making tradeoffs between potential investments more explicit in a comprehensive and transparent way. Mosaic also provides a record of assumptions and information used in a transportation planning process. Transportation professionals will likely find the Mosaic Categories and Indicators and User Guide sections most useful, as this is where most information on how to use the tool is found.​

Background Information

Mosaic began as Oregon’s least cost planning effort, defined in legislation as "a process of comparing direct and indirect costs of demand and supply options to meet transportation goals, policies or both, where the intent of the process is to identify the most cost effective mix of options."

During Mosaic development, ODOT heard from many stakeholders that the term “least cost planning” was confusing, since the goal is to help find cost-effective options in line with goals and policies rather than always the least immediate cost option. While the Legislature’s definition of least cost planning still forms the foundation of Mosaic, it was renamed to reduce confusion over its purpose and intent.

Goals in developing Mosaic included:

  • Enable fair comparison of different kinds of transportation solutions, including both projects and programs
  • Evaluate their impacts in monetary terms where possible
  • Include items that cannot be monetized in the analysis
  • Use available data and tools wherever possible
  • Make Mosaic flexible so that it can be used in different contexts

The result is a comprehensive transportation decision analysis tool, designed to be used at a planning level, such as a city or corridor, where there are complex choices necessary about kinds of investments to pursue and considering their effects on the pursuit of the community’s goals.

Here are a few summary resources about Mosaic:

Mosaic Menu

Mosaic Home

Categories, Indicators & Programs

User Guide & Tool


Email Lucia Ramirez
Principal Planner
Telephone 503-986-4168