Understanding the facets of planning to improve access to jobs does not necessarily lead to an obvious preferred alternative. Planners should create a framework for choosing between alternatives. The criteria against which to measure alternatives depend upon the goals that each region or planning group sets in its planning process. Examples of decision criteria include the following:
- Creating specific transit links between independent systems.
- Garnering financial and operational support from local employers.
- Increasing the number of reverse commuters from specific central-city geographic areas.
- Increasing the number of transportation options to specific transit-dependent populations.
- Improving on specific productivity criteria for capital assets in the transit system.
- Creating a joint planning effort between disparate transit and paratransit providers.
Although it may be difficult to obtain data to substantiate these criteria during initial planning efforts, estimates and assumptions can serve as a baseline for future analysis and decision-making. Very few communities conduct in depth evaluations of welfare to work transportation alternatives during first, or sometimes second rounds of job access planning. Because it is difficult to predict how the target population will respond to transportation programs and services there are many unknowns. Many communities have utilized GIS to identify quantitative information as a starting point. Input from employers, childcare providers, transit providers and job developers can provide insight relative to the services they provide and how they believe the target population will respond based on their experience.