Scenario Planning


To better understand the impacts of our region’s projected development, TCRPC utilized scenario planning, an analytical tool or framework that incorporates many different environmental, regulatory and community factors and examines how they will affect projected growth over the next 25 years. The goal of scenario planning is to identify issues and trends and compare possible strategies -- not to perfectly model what the solution to those issues and trends will look like. Scenario planning is analytical, not predictive. Using GIS modeling and analysis, we are able to identify areas suitable and not suitable for development, and examine how the projected growth can impact our region moving forward.

The five scenarios examined by TCRPC were:

  • Scenario 1A: Land Development Trend -- Examines the impacts of continuing the development patterns of the recent past with no geographic constraint.
  • Scenario 1B: Existing Zoning Trends -- Examines the existing municipal zoning ordinances with no geographic constraint.
  • Scenario 2: Transportation Corridors -- Examines the impacts of concentrating development around our region’s transportation infrastructure (land around arterial roads, collector roads and interstate exits).
  • Scenario 3: Expanded Public Transit -- Examines the impacts of concentrating development around an expanded public transit system (land around the existing fixed route transit system as well as a conceptual expansion).
  • Scenario 4: Regional Population Center -- Examines the impacts of concentrating development around our region’s cities, boroughs and villages.

Each scenario was built by identifying areas where residential develop could occur, establishing the amount of anticipated growth and applying growth rates to approximate how much land would be consumed in the process. Because each scenario had a different combination of geographic constraints and growth rates, the amount and location of land consumed was distinct to each.

Using 10 different performance measures, each scenario was evaluated for its positive and negative impacts on the region. Through an exercise conducted during a series of six outreach meetings with municipal officials, these 10 performance measures were ranked by their importance. The results of these exercises were used to determine the region’s “preferred scenario” -- the scenario that had the best results for the performance measures deemed most important.

Regional Population Centers -- Scenario 4 above -- is the scenario with the best results for the performance measures ranked most important as well as the majority of the others. As such, it is the region’s “preferred scenario,” and changes to the planned growth area designations were made with this in mind.