The page you requested has moved and you've automatically been taken to its new location.

Please update your link or bookmark after closing this notice.

Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration
Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)

New Trends in Transportation and Land Use Scenario Planning

III. Inventory and Case Study Descriptions

To identify specific next generation scenario planning efforts and practices, the project team conducted an internet scan, interviewed experts, and surveyed FHWA Division Office field planners.3 Based on this research, an inventory was developed of next generation practices (see Appendix B), which represents a snapshot of efforts rather than a comprehensive review.

Five agencies were selected from the inventory for which detailed case studies were developed (see Appendix C for complete case studies).The primary considerations in selecting the case studies were identifying efforts that appeared to be comprehensive. Other guidelines used to select case studies were:

To conduct the case studies, five telephone interviews ranging from 60 to 90 minutes were held with agency representatives who self-identified as appropriate contacts. The project team tailored a flexible discussion guide for each interview to allow participants to talk about additional topics. The team then drafted case studies based on the discussions, relevant supplemental materials, and comments and suggestions that interviewees provided.

The selected case studies and associated key trends are listed in Table 1 below. Bolded 'Xs' signify the main trend that the effort addressed.

Table 1. Selected case studies and associated emerging trend.

Lead Agency


Climate Change


Financial Stability



Southern California Association of Governments

Sustainable Communities Strategy




Cheyenne MPO




Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments

2050 Scenario Thinking Workshop



Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning

GOTO 2040





Thomas Jefferson Planning District Council

Eastern Planning Initiative


Each case study is briefly summarized below.

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) addressed economic and quality of life issues in its scenario planning process and used sophisticated real-time analysis and visualization tools for public involvement. Key components of CMAP's approach were:

The PlanCheyenne effort, which was led by the Cheyenne MPO in coordination with the City of Cheyenne and Laramie County, used a scenario planning process in a rural region. The effort led to policies that shifted development away from a trend toward low-density growth. Key components of Cheyenne's approach were:

The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is currently defining a scenario planning approach to reduce GHG emissions at the regional level. The process is being developed in response to California Senate Bill (SB) 375, which requires regional transportation plans to comply with GHG emission targets set by the California Air Resources Board. Key components of SCAG's approach are:

The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC) in Charlottesville, Virginia, used a scenario planning approach to address regional livability. Key components of TJPDC's approach are listed below:

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) developed a one-day scenario thinking exercise, demonstrating use of scenario planning in a low-cost, qualitative format to advance regional dialogue about key issues. Key components of MWCOG's approach are listed below:


3 Scenario planning is not a consistently defined process. On its scenario planning website and in previous workshops, FHWA has promoted a six-step process to help guide agencies' scenario planning decision-making; however, in practice, implementation might not follow the six steps. For the purpose of this project, the Volpe Center project team included in the scan any effort by a transportation agency that evaluated multiple growth/land use scenarios to help define desired policies, strategies, and/or projects. The following were included in the scope of the scan: visioning efforts, long-range planning studies, agency business plans, and collaborative efforts between academic institutions and transportation agencies.

Updated: 5/9/2014
HEP Home Planning Environment Real Estate
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000