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Scenario Planning and Strategic Assessments

Scenario Planning and Strategic Assessments

Scenario planning is a method for exploring an areas long-term future - in other words, "where is the area heading", and "is that where we want to go?" The processes outlined for scenario planning in Oregon allows areas to work together to consider statewide, regional, and local needs and issues, such as economic development, fiscal impacts, resource use, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and the effects of different choices on the state, region, community or household. The purpose of doing this work is to provide better information for decision-making that combines real community values with choices and options for on the ground solutions. ODOT has completed a state-level scenario plan, the Statewide Transportation Strategy, and Portland Metro and Central Lane metropolitan areas are engaged in regional scenario planning efforts.

A Strategic Assessment uses some of the early elements of a scenario planning process to give metropolitan areas a first look allowing them to evaluate how their region’s transportation system will perform in the future assuming that current plans are carried out and current trends continue. Although GHG emissions reduction is an important component of Strategic Assessments, it is not the only component and Strategic Assessments help to inform long-range planning. In addition, through sensitivity testing, a Strategic Assessment helps metropolitan areas understand how different aspects of the transportation system, land use, and other factors affect future performance. The future time horizon that is assessed includes 2035, in parallel to the GHG reduction targets, but also extends to 2050 to enable metropolitan areas to consider the potential consequences of longer range trends that have significant planning implications.

Metropolitan areas can use the results of a Strategic Assessment to inform development of land use and transportation plans and investment priorities. In addition, a Strategic Assessment can help the metropolitan area governments to develop a long-range vision for their region which addresses community goals and prepares the community for the future. It will also help the region to identify state-level actions that are important for enabling necessary reductions in GHG emissions from metropolitan area light-duty vehicle travel. /ODOT/TD/OSTI/PublishingImages/RSPM_graphic.png To find out what data are needed to conduct a Strategic Assessment see the Metropolitan Data Decision Checklist.

Statewide Transportation Strategy (Oregon Department of Transportation)

The Statewide Transportation Strategy (STS) is a state-level scenario planning effort that examines all aspects of the transportation system, including the movement of people and goods on all modes, and identifies a combination of strategies to reduce GHG emissions. It includes 18 high-level strategies and over 130 potential actions for substantially reducing transportation-related emissions. The STS is a non-regulatory document that charts a path forward for Oregon. It was accepted by the Oregon Transportation Commission in March 2013.

Climate Smart Communities Scenarios Project (Portland Metro)

The Climate Smart Communities Scenarios Project was initiated in response to a mandate from the Oregon Legislature to reduce per capita GHG emissions by 20 percent from cars and small trucks by 2035. There are many ways to reduce emissions while creating healthy, more equitable communities and a vibrant regional economy. The goal of the project is to engage community, business, public health and elected leaders in a discussion with their communities to shape a preferred approach that meets the state mandate and supports local and regional plans for downtowns, main streets and employment areas.

Also at the direction of the Legislature, the Land Conservation and Development Commission adopted rules to guide Metro as it develops and selects a preferred land use and transportation scenario for the Portland metropolitan region to meet a GHG emissions reduction target.

Visit Oregon Metro to learn what the region is doing to create livable communities and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Central Lane Scenario Planning (Central Lane Metropolitan Planning Organization)

The 2009 Jobs and Transportation Act (House Bill 2001) passed by the Oregon Legislature requires the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) that serves Eugene and Springfield to conduct scenario planning and cooperatively select a preferred scenario that accommodates planned population and employment growth while achieving a reduction in GHG emissions from passenger vehicles. To comply with this legislative requirement  the Central Lane MPO, in partnership with its member local governments, initiated the scenario planning process. Through this process area jurisdictions will explore options and may learn important lessons that can be used to inform future land use and transportation planning. ODOT is funding this work and providing technical support.

The scenario planning process is divided into three major steps. The first step is focused on understanding what would happen if existing plans and policy directions are implemented over the next 20 years. The second step is about developing and comparing different futures (alternative scenarios). The third step will refine the scenarios that best meet local goals and support cooperatively selecting a preferred scenario. While the GHG reduction goal must be considered during the process, state regulations do not require the region to meet the target. Additionally, the local jurisdictions are not required to implement policies to support the selected scenario. Each local jurisdiction can choose to implement those actions that are most appropriate for their community. The Central Lane MPO will report back to the legislature in 2015 about what they learned from the process.

For more information please visit Central Lane Scenario Planning.

Corvallis Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) Strategic Assessment

A Strategic Assessment is a voluntary activity that allows an MPO and its member local governments to evaluate what the metropolitan area may look like in the future given the area’s adopted plans and trends of today. With this information, the MPO and jurisdictions can explore different possible outcomes, and use data to inform transportation system plans or other planning efforts and consider if they wish to conduct full scale scenario planning (i.e. evaluate alternative scenarios and select a preferred scenario).

In July 2013, CAMPO formally committed to engage in the Strategic Assessment process. Throughout this process, ODOT and the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) will provide CAMPO with financial and technical support. This process is anticipated to conclude in June 2014.

Other Metropolitan Planning Organizations (Bend, Rogue Valley, and Salem-Keizer)

The OSTI legislation identifies the following five MPOs: Portland Metro, Central Lane, Corvallis Area, Bend, Rogue Valley, and Salem-Keizer. The legislation requires that Portland Metro and Central Lane initiate scenario planning and encourages the other MPOs to consider such efforts. Although CAMPO is the only MPO to voluntarily initiate scenario planning type work by engaging in the Strategic Assessment process, ODOT and the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) have offered to support Strategic Assessments in the other MPOs and have been talking to MPO staff and elected officials.

More specifically, through contracts negotiated by ODOT, metropolitan areas can request financial and technical assistance. The funding available can be used to cover MPO staff time associated with data collection, model assembly and calibration, as well as other costs associated with the planning process. Furthermore, DLCD staff provides assistance with data collection and reporting of results and ODOT staff provides modeling assistance and runs analyses, in addition to providing overall project management support.

For more information on the Strategic Assessment process, including data required and background information on the model used, please refer to the Oregon Strategic Assessment – Regional Strategic Planning Model User’s Guide (Draft) (PDF).