The new selection criteria for transit projects to win federal funds will include livability issues such as economic development opportunities and environmental benefits, the US Government has proposed.

If approved, the move will result in a significant change from the existing transportation guidelines, which focus mainly on cost and time saved.

The changes are planned to be included in the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts and Small Starts programmes.

The budget restrictions issued by the previous government in March 2005 are also planned to be removed.

Transportation secretary Ray LaHood said the government wants to base its decisions on how much transit helps the environment, how much it improves development opportunities and how it makes communities better places to live.

“Our new policy for selecting major transit projects will work to promote livability rather than hinder it,” LaHood said.