Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Site Image

Scenario Planning Guidelines

Scenario Planning Guidelines

View the full Scenario Planning Guidelines (PDF).

Why the Guidelines?

The Guidelines were developed as a resource to help Oregon metropolitan organizations (MPOs) and local governments conduct metropolitan land use and transportation scenario planning. Metropolitan areas are encouraged to use the handbook as guidance to design a scenario planning process that best addresses local conditions and builds on other concurrent or recent planning efforts. /ODOT/TD/OSTI/PublishingImages/workshop_sm_step5.jpg

The Guidelines are just that: guidelines
Land use and transportation scenario planning to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) — outside the Portland Metropolitan and Eugene-Springfield areas — is voluntary. The Guidelines provide recommendations on the process for conducting scenario planning. We expect and encourage local governments to consider other approaches and to innovate as scenario planning is carried out in each area.
The Guidelines build on existing plans and information
The Guidelines are designed to allow metropolitan areas to use existing plans and information to conduct scenario planning.
The Guidelines reference new planning tools to inform and engage the public
In addition to building on existing information, the Guidelines also point to tools metropolitan areas can use—including sketch planning tools and a metropolitan version of ODOT’s award-winning GreenSTEP model—to effectively engage and inform the public and elected officials in evaluating existing plans and possible alternatives.
  • Metropolitan GreenSTEP Model: Provides planners and decision makers with a high-level regional view of likely effects of GHG emissions on different community goals, objectives, policies and programs.
  • Sketch Planning Tools: Use detailed information about different types of land uses in a community — both existing and planned — to estimate outcomes of different land use and transportation policies.
The Guidelines describe a process for visioning a metropolitan area’s future
The Guidelines are intended to help metropolitan areas envision their future and address the greenhouse gas targets for 2035 adopted by the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC).
The Guidelines are a starting point; innovation is encouraged
The Guidelines and the accompanying Greenhouse Gas Reduction Toolkit provide a range of programs and actions that local governments can consider as they conduct scenario planning. We encourage metropolitan areas to innovate and adapt the recommendations in the Guidelines to fit local conditions and the latest information.
Scenario planning should evaluate a broad set of goals
The Guidelines and recommended scenario planning tools include a broad range of evaluation criteria, which are intended to help local officials and the public understand potential benefits and consequences of different choices.
Metropolitan Scenario Planning in Oregon and GHG Reduction Targets
SB 1059 directs LCDC to set GHG reduction targets for all of the state's metropolitan areas, scenario planning for metropolitan areas other than Portland Metro and Eugene-Springfield is not required, but is encouraged. HB 2001 requires Metro, the Portland metropolitan area local governments and Eugene-Springfield metropolitan area to develop and select a preferred land use and transportation scenario that achieves the GHG emissions reduction targets.

The targets call for a 17-20% reduction of GHG emissions from light vehicle travel, which each metropolitan area needs to achieve by 2035 in order for the state to be on track to meet its 2050 GHG reduction goal.


The scenario planning guidelines provide recommendations and instructions to help define:
  • Processes for scenario planning (e.g. who is involved, and key steps).
  • Guidance for preparing scenarios (i.e. number and type of scenario to be developed, and scope of actions and programs to be considered).
  • Assumptions to be used in evaluating alternatives.
  • Methods for evaluating GHG reductions, and other costs and benefits.
  • Steps for integrating scenario planning with other land use and transportation planning work.
  • Processes for public participation in developing and evaluating alternatives.
  • Coordination with cities that are near but outside the metropolitan area.
In addition, SB 1059 directed that the guidelines must:
  • Take into account the full range of actions local governments may take concerning land use and transportation planning.
  • Allow sufficient flexibility for different local governments to meet the needs of their individual communities.
  • Provide for coordination between state agencies and local governments.
  • Encourage local innovation to reduce GHG emissions.
  • Provide examples of alternative land use and transportation scenarios.
Guidelines Process

A scenario planning technical advisory committee – made up of local governments, stakeholders and consultants – have assisted ODOT and DLCD in developing the guidelines. The Guidelines reflect other SB 1059 work, including:
  • Baseline assumptions by ODOT, DEQ and ODOE about future vehicles, fuels, and vehicular travel.
  • OTC Statewide Transportation Strategy to reduce GHG emissions from the transportation sector.
  • Toolkit of best practices for actions and measures to reduce transportation GHG emissions.
  • Completed draft guidelines by April 2011 to help inform target rulemaking. Final guidelines were completed by the end of 2011.
Key Issues and Considerations

The guidelines address several major issues:
  • Define scenario planning (i.e. level of detail of scenario plans).
  • Identify who is responsible for conducting scenario planning and the process for cooperative selection of a preferred alternative.
  • Define how scenario plans relate to and should be integrated with other required land use and transportation plans.


Please send any comments or questions to:

Stephanie Millar
Senior Planner

Subscribe to email updates for the Oregon Sustainable Transportation Initiative.