Scenario Planning Peer Workshop: Nashville, TN June 4-5, 2009

Scenario Planning Peer Workshop: Nashville, TN June 4-5, 2009

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    The following report summarizes a peer exchange in Nashville, Tennessee, on scenario planning tools and techniques. The event focused on how some of Tennessee’s metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and other agencies nationwide have implemented scenario planning approaches that link transportation and land use planning. Event participants discussed general process steps as well as software programs and tools for developing and analyzing scenarios. Additionally, participants exchanged knowledge on some challenges, success factors, and lessons learned related to implementation of scenario planning. On the first day of the day-and-a-half event, a speaker from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provided participants with an overview of the scenario planning process. A peer speaker from the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council (NCFRPC) detailed that agency’s scenario planning process and discussed best practices. Peer speakers from the Nashville, Memphis, and Knoxville MPOs then described each respective agency’s application of scenario planning for updating the long-range plan. Lessons learned and challenges from these applications were discussed in a panel format. Finally, presenters from Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc., a consulting firm, engaged participants in a “chips” exercise. The exercise demonstrated an interactive process for creating scenarios to explore regional development trends and their implications. On the second day of the workshop, a scenario planning software package was used to digitize and display the results of completed scenarios from the previous day’s chips exercise. The results indicated that even identical inputs, such as existing land use patterns or demographic variables, can lead to different pictures of future regional growth. A staff member from the FHWA Resource Center provided an overview of tools and technologies available to facilitate scenario planning. Finally, the NCFRPC peer speaker and a staff member from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe Center), conducted sessions on how agencies considering utilizing the technique in the future can get started. During the discussion session, participants exchanged ideas about networking tactics for continuing ongoing efforts.
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