The use of scenario analysis in long-range planning gives citizens and decision-makers an opportunity to compare a set of alternative possible “futures” for their community or region. The project team will work closely with regional and local governments to define, describe, and assess transportation and development scenarios in an effort to form a solid foundation for their long-range mobility and land use plans. 1. Creating A Shared Vision Through Scenario Analysis Given the uncertainties inherent in a long range planning project, such as the RMP, the use of scenarios is a powerful tool to incorporate a range of possible futures into both (1) the assessment of mobility needs and (2) the evaluation of potential transportation and land use strategies. There are two planning horizons for the scenario planning component of the RMP, which include 20-year and 50 to 75 year horizons. The 20-year scenarios for the CRTPA planning area are the focus of the RMP transportation planning effort. Because of the CRTPA’s desire to examine 50-75-year horizon scenarios, a higher level look at the results of the analysis will be utilized. The results of the longer range scenarios will not focus on specific elements in detail, but will provide a general assessment of the impacts of the development types over the longer time frame. The 20-year scenarios will be used to test alternative visions for the Capital Region through 2035 and could include: • Local comprehensive plan visions and preferred strategies, incorporating prior plans and recommendations, including the transit development plans and programs for StarMetro and Big Bend Transit, and regional and local Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Trail Master Plans, • The vision established during early public involvement efforts for the RMP, • Continuation of existing development patterns, or “business as usual” trends, • Quality growth patterns, based on a review of best practices from throughout the planning profession, or • An “interim” 20-year growth horizon based on the 50-75 year visioning efforts that include the larger planning area. In order to build each of the alternative scenarios, an understanding of the existing policy framework, including local policies, ordinances, and regulations must be obtained and assessed. The project team will conduct a thorough review of the existing land use ordinances, zoning maps, and land use plans for the multiple jurisdictions within the study area. This review will be based on a template that includes quality growth standards. In addition to providing the foundation for the scenarios, the review will also identify any discrepancies or conflicts found within the study area and make recommendations for rectifying these discrepancies. It will also be important to analyze the cumulative impacts of the developments, and opportunities that may exist if growth patterns occur in one manner versus another. For example, what are the local and regional implications for infrastructure improvements in water, sewer, and transportation, based on sprawl development patterns versus quality growth? GIS and Scenario Analysis The creation and assessment of the different scenarios will utilize GIS technology. Various mapping techniques will be combined with geo-spatial databases to complete the analysis and will also provide for complete data management. Scenario Definition Each 20-year scenario will include a land use pattern as well as transportation network assumptions. In order to support further analysis at the corridor or subarea level, the assumptions related to any new or ongoing projects will be clearly described for each scenario. It is likely that various transportation alternatives will be tested against a range of potential development patterns. This will ensure that any transportation solutions identified in the planning process are consistent with the planned growth and development in the Capital Region. The different scenarios defined for the RMP can reveal issues and conflicts related to land development and congestion, including describing how “business as usual” development, even when coupled with major transport investments still may not result in mobility of people and goods. Even assuming a road-centric transportation system, following quality growth principles allows the flexibility of including successful bicycle, pedestrian, and transit investments to serve mobility needs. Driving Influences in Land Development In addition, a critical element of the of the process will be the understanding of the development market and what the driving forces are that currently shape land development. Understanding the “how” and “why” of land development will provide a basis for identifying the approaches needed to elicit positive responses from the private development community to actually help implement the preferred development scenario. While this may be a somewhat different approach to the status quo of transportation and land use scenario planning, the project team believes that incorporating development economic decision- making reality will be a reliable way to gain a true picture of the impacts of the various development scenarios. Comparing Scenario Results Comparing the results of various future scenarios is a very powerful tool to educate the public and decision makers about the impacts of both development patterns and transportation investments. The adage of “a picture is worth a 1,000 words” particularly holds true when communicating the impacts of various types of development and the supporting infrastructure needs. The creation and depiction of the results of the scenarios will be graphically presented, allowing the results to be easily understood by a wide audience. The scenario mapping also will show important assumptions and the impacts of development and transportation patterns on undeveloped land, population density, environmentally sensitive areas, major destinations, and travel conditions. 2. Using Scenarios to Assess Mobility Needs It is likely that there are critical corridors that will be congested regardless of future development. Overlays of the results from the different scenarios will be used to identify these critical areas and assess the strategies necessary to maximize the use of the current system to meet future mobility needs. New investments to address the critical transportation needs and describe strategies that reinforce the long-range vision for the region will also be identified. While travel demand modeling is an important step in scenario planning, it is only part of the scenario assessment process. The travel demand analysis will indicate system-level mobility needs and deficiencies which will then be integrated with stakeholder and public input, previous planning efforts, and additional analysis to identify mobility issues not fully addressed in the model. One of the issues not fully addressed by regional travel demand forecasting is transit. There are several tools available to assist in more detailed analysis of transit, including the Transit Level of Service (TLOS) software developed by the FDOT. Another tool is the Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual that provides a methodology to measure the perceived performance of the transit system from the passenger’s perspective. This methodology includes an array of factors, such as service frequency, pedestrian Level of Service, span of service, and sidewalk connections to transit stops. Local transportation needs, such as pedestrian and bicycle mobility, traffic operational improvements, and transit- supportive policies will also be included in the scenario-based needs assessment, including recommendations for further analysis of critical corridors and sub-areas. As in the scenario development activities, GIS can be used to depict information clearly and graphically to the public and stakeholders. Mapping of future congested areas showing analysis results given assumed land development patterns, transportation system strategies, and available funding will provide an understandable supporting format for communicating with the public. This scenario planning process provides the opportunity for many of the “what if…?” questions that members of the public, stakeholders, local officials, and RMP project team will have regarding the impacts of alternative development patterns and approaches on mobility. It also provides the opportunity to identify the development patterns that best meet the future visions and goals and to craft the approach to achieve those future visions. 3. Selection of the “Preferred Scenario” The results of the initial scenarios and feedback from the public, stakeholders, and decision- makers, will yield a “Preferred Scenario” that addresses critical needs identified in the Needs Assessment, incorporating additional strategies to achieve the Capital Region’s desired vision for the future. This scenario will also provide the framework for more detailed sub- area and corridor studies. Developing a preferred scenario is an iterative process allowing for analysis of growth and development based on the Capital Region’s goals and objectives, as well as its transportation system. It can be useful for decision-makers to visualize a preferred growth scenario with alternative strategies promoting both regional mobility and local connectivity, including auto-intensive as well as alternative travel modes. Iterative scenario planning will likely be necessary to identify land use patterns that complement and maximize use of the current transportation system, as well as transportation investments that support preferred growth and development patterns. This will be true for the scenarios for the 20-year planning horizon as well as the 50-75 year scenarios. The preferred scenario will be the basis for prioritizing future transportation investments for the RMP Staging Plan, with a major focus on maintaining and maximizing the efficiency of the existing transportation system.