Scenario Planning

Scenario planning is an analytical, decisionmaking tool that helps strategic planners and elected officials envision what lies ahead in terms of growth, economy, transportation, health, the environment, and land use. Scenario planners test various future alternatives that could meet community and State needs. Scenario planning enhances transportation planners' and the community's understanding of various forces of change, including population growth and aging, immigration, and economic factors, and it enables planners to consider alternatives in shaping their future in terms of polices related to land use, the environment, and transportation. Scenario planners consider trends in demographics, safety, congestion, environment, health (physical activity and obesity), quality of life, and land use on the assumption that integrating them in their scenarios leads to improved transportation planning in a region. Planners, working in conjunction with community leaders, businesses, and local officials, should take these six steps: (1) research the driving forces, (2) determine patterns of interaction, (3) generate alternative scenarios and strategies in various future environments, (4) analyze the implications in terms of improving decisionmaking on transportation, land use, public investment, and environmental policies, (5) monitor indicators to compare real growth patterns to the selected scenarios and devise new scenarios, make new decisions, or create policies that address changing situations. The Federal Highway Administration offers technical support, funding planning, and information to State, regional, and local officials who undertake scenario planning.


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  • Accession Number: 01011024
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 21 2005 12:35PM