FHWA Scenario Planning Guidebook

Scenario planning is a process that can help transportation professionals to prepare for what lies ahead. It provides a framework for developing a shared vision for the future by analyzing various forces (e.g., health, transportation, livability, economic, environmental, land use), that affect communities. The technique was originally used by private industry to anticipate future business conditions and to better manage risk. Since 2004, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has encouraged transportation-focused scenario planning as an approach that enhances the traditional planning process. This type of scenario planning is a technique designed to help citizens and stakeholders in the public and private sectors understand how demographic and land-use changes could potentially impact transportation networks in a state, community, region, or study area. The hallmark of scenario planning is identifying land-use patterns as variables (rather than as static inputs) that could affect transportation networks, investments, and operations. Other variables might include demographic, economic, political, and environmental trends. Considering and analyzing alternative possibilities for each variable helps stakeholders to understand how a state, community, region, or study area might look and function in the future. While scenario planning can be implemented in many ways, the key elements include: 1. Use of scenarios to compare and contrast interactions between multiple factors, such as transportation, land use, and economic development. 2. Analysis of how different land-use, demographic, or other types of scenarios could impact transportation networks. 3. Identification of possible strategies that lead a state, community, region, or study area toward achieving elements of the preferred future. 4. Public engagement throughout the process.

  • Record URL:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, 55 Broadway
    Cambridge, MA  United States  02142

    Federal Highway Administration

    Office of Planning, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Publication Date: 2011-2


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Features: Figures; Maps; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 40p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01345040
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: FHWA-HEP-11-004
  • Files: NTL, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jul 5 2011 11:57AM