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Step 5: Develop and Evaluate Alternative Scenarios

Step 5 Summary

View the full Scenario Planning Guidelines (PDF).

In this step, alternatives go from a theoretical discussion of themes that address the needs and interests of the community to the actual testing of alternative policy options such as adjusting land use allocations and codes, different transportation investments, expanded bicycle and pedestrian programs, and other possible changes, to evaluate their effectiveness and feasibility based on issues most important to the community. The results of those evaluations are reported back to the public and stakeholders in Step 6 to inform the selection of a preferred scenario, which will include a concept map and a set of major programs, policies or general actions, and spatially distributed housing and employment forecasts.

Public Engagement

The purpose of public engagement at this step is to collect ideas to refine the initial set of scenarios or develop new scenarios. At this point, a preliminary run of Metropolitan GreenSTEP is recommended to strategically assess a wide range of scenario theme options, which can inform the selection of alternative scenarios, before embarking on a more detailed and time consuming process. Below is information about public engagement options to develop alternative scenarios.

Develop Alternative Scenarios

The ideas and concepts that emerged from public review and evaluation of the Base Case and the Reference Scenario should now be compiled and summarized to identify themes for use in designing alternative scenarios. The number of alternatives to be developed depends on available time, resources and the complexity of the selected scenario themes.

The purpose of alternative scenarios is to illustrate differences between possible choices. Below are some scenario themes to use for guidance.
  • Refine the Reference Case as a Scenario
  • Recent Trends
  • Land Use Changes
  • Urban Design
  • Specific Drivers and Specific Community Goals

Evaluate the Alternative Scenarios

  • Evaluate the performance of alternative scenarios using the criteria from Step 2, sketch planning tools and Metropolitan GreenSTEP.
  • Evaluate each alternative scenario against the same evaluation criteria used with the reference for easy comparison. Be sure to do a “reality check” against known local trends and projections.
  • When preparing the evaluation of the scenarios to be shared with the public and policy makers in Step 6 use language and graphics that communicate the issues in a manner to which people can relate.