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Scenario planning is a technique and comparative process used to assess and prepare for possible future conditions.
This report summarizes a one-day scenario planning workshop co-sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and The Thomas D. Larson Transportation Institute (LTI) at The Pennsylvania State University (PSU). (See Appendix A for the complete workshop agenda).
Scenario planning is a technique used to think through how the future, as it relates to a particular decision or issue, might unfold. Understanding the short-, medium-, and long-term implications of current decisions in the context of a changing external environment enables stakeholders to better prepare for different possible futures. The scenario planning technique used for this workshop was employed to assess the effects of demographic, economic, political, and environmental trends on transportation and land use decision-making. By considering and analyzing alternative future scenarios based on these variables, transportation agencies can better understand how a state, region, or community might look and function in the future. Transportation and land use scenario planning, as used in the context of this workshop, is the identification of land use patterns as variables (rather than static inputs) that affect transportation networks and investment decisions.