Evaluation Metrics

The 180 Alliance has established a bold vision for working together for the betterment of the region. Determining success will require measuring both progress and results.

Our data analysis began with a review of general indicators, and continued with a deeper evaluation of metrics related to each of the specific strategies recommended in this plan. Finally, our findings were benchmarked against comparable suburban counties.

General Benchmarks

Data indicates a strong performance on most metrics by Hendricks, Boone, and Johnson.

For the initial evaluation of data as part of this plan, the 180 Alliance reviewed Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) Community Vitality Index (CVI) data. This data is published by the Purdue Center for Regional Development and Rural Stats Indiana, and provides a year-by-year snapshot to demonstrate progress as individual cities or counties.

The data indicates strong performance on most metrics by Hendricks, Boone, and Johnson counties. These three counties are ranked 2, 3, and 5 in aggregate out of 92 counties in the state. Rankings for Putnam, Montgomery and Morgan are lower, coming in at 61, 32, and 20, respectively. Notable factors limiting their performance include low percentage of advanced degrees, lower income, and low or declining population growth. Shown below is a table of performance and community vitality indicators for the 180 Alliance region.

Downtown Quality of Place Benchmarks

To provide an objective measure of performance, we will measure two key points: downtown population and walkscore.


The 180 Alliance will measure downtown population as an indicator of the desirability of the region’s downtown districts. This will be tracked for every community with a population over 1,500 persons. The goal is to increase the downtown population through investments in arts and culture, quality of place, and public spaces. Where there is a defined downtown district, that boundary is used for the measurement. In the absence of a defined district, the population within a 0.25-mile radius of the center address in the district is used.


We will also use Walkscore (www.walkscore.com) to measure progress toward downtown quality of place. The Walkscore algorithm includes proximity to downtown amenities in walking distance (including restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores, schools and parks), making it a strong indicator of the livability of the downtown districts.

Shown below is a table of downtown population and walkscores for all six counties and their downtown communities.

Downtown Quality of Place Benchmarks

To provide an objective measure of performance, we will measure two key points: downtown population and walkscore.


In addition to developing the visionary trails network, we will also measure the total mileage of trails in each county, with the goal of growing the total length of trail mileage.


The Indiana Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) has identified five visionary trail corridors within the 180 Alliance region. Our region will measure progress on these corridors by tracking the length of the trails that are complete.


The 180 Alliance recognizes that there is a deficit within the region for available parkland. As a result, we will monitor the total available parkland with the goal of achieving 35 acres for every 1,000 residents. This is the standard established by the current SCORP. Notably, this plan identifies that Boone, Hendricks, and Johnson have critical deficiencies in the availability of outdoor recreation lands, while Morgan, Montgomery, and Putnam have a surplus.

Arts & Culture Benchmarks

To measure arts and culture progress, we’ll use an independent vibrancy index.


The Southern Methodist University Arts Vibrancy Index will be utilized to measure progress toward improving the arts and cultural sector in the community. The index consists of five parts: arts providers, arts dollars, government support, socio-economic, and other leisure. The score indicates the percentage of communities you performed better than.

Housing for Talent Attraction Benchmarks

The primary metrics for measuring talent attraction will be population growth.


The goal is to maintain the rate of regional population growth that was seen between 2010-2020 (22.2%). It is noted that forecasts show that growth may not occur at this same pace, therefore action will be required to support a similar growth rate.


The other metric to be employed is tracking the number of housing units added through READI. This will be compared to the number of units planned to be added as part of this program.

Talent Development Benchmarks

Metrics for talent development include public school enrollment, high school graduation rate, and percentage of population with an associate’s degree or higher.

Successful talent attraction for this region will include attracting and retaining those with advanced degrees of all types. This includes certificate programs, associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and beyond. Growing innovation in the region will require more residents with bachelor’s degrees, so this will be tracked in addition to the other degrees noted in the CVI data.