RCS Regional Scenario Planning
The Regional Connectors Study (RCS) Regional Scenario Planning process will provide insight to decisionmakers regarding the need for and the benefits of alternative transportation investments considering potential alternative future trends. The Scenario Planning process will consider a baseline 2045 scenario and three alternative 2045 scenarios that present plausible alternative futures (called scenarios) with respect to economic, demographic and technology drivers.
The scenario analysis will link alternative future economic and demographic trends with land use and the resulting socioeconomic forecasts will be tested with the regional travel demand model to understand the impacts to transportation and other performance measures. The scenario outcomes will provide a series of benchmarks against which to test the resilience of different transportation investments. The purpose of the scenario planning process is to identify those transportation investments and projects that fare best in the analysis—that provide the most cumulative benefit to the region regardless of which alternative future scenario is tested. This will be done by testing each of the Preliminary Alternatives against each scenario to gauge how robust each investment is with respect to the range of possible futures. This process is called “Exploratory Scenario Planning.”
Who is involved?
Throughout the RCS Regional Scenario Planning process, the RCS Working Group will work closely with HRTPO staff, regional stakeholders, and the Consultant team to provide guidance, affirm scenarios, select drivers and performance measures, and evaluate interim and final results. The RCS Working Group is made up of staff from the counties and cities, transportation agencies, and federal and state agencies of the Hampton Roads region. The RCS Steering Committee that is overseeing the overall RCS process will also be updated on the progress on the Regional Scenario Planning effort.
The Baseline Scenario is the adopted 2045 regional socioeconomic forecast, as approved by the HRTPO Board. It includes forecasted growth of 8% in employment and 17% in population over the 2015 base year.
This scenario will be tested with the new regional travel demand model, based on a transportation network of existing + committed projects, to identify baseline transportation performance in 2045.
The three alternative scenarios, or “Greater Growth” scenarios, will include additional growth amounts that will be allocated differently according to the drivers of growth unique to each scenario.
The baseline performance information will be provided here when available in fall 2019. Committed projects are defined as fully-funded transportation projects programmed for construction in the VDOT Six-Year Improvement Program.
The scenarios have distinctly different assumptions for future growth in jobs, based on key industry drivers in each scenario narrative. Likewise, patterns of population growth will vary across scenarios, depending on scenario assumptions. For all three Greater Growth Scenarios, the forecasted growth in jobs and population will be the same. This forecasted growth is in addition to the 2045 baseline growth from the HRTPO Board-approved 2045 Socioeconomic Forecast. The Greater Growth performance information will be provided here when available.
Within each scenario are certain parameters—demographics and land use, economics, and technology—which have their own drivers. Drivers are external factors that can influence the future scenarios but are uncertain in the future. Through scenario planning, we are able to adjust the “settings” of these drivers to produce variable outcomes.
The Scenario Narratives describe the key drivers and the intended travel patterns to be tested by each scenario (see graphic below). The RCS Steering Committee approved the initial scenario narratives for the Greater Growth Scenarios on July 9, 2019. On July 18, 2019, the HRTPO Board also approved the scenario narratives.
LAND USE & DEMOGRAPHICS
Some examples of land use and demographic drivers include population, locations of population growth clusters, and the generational mix of future populations. The land use model uses regional place types and suitability factors to distribute growth differently in each scenario.
Some examples of economic drivers include industry diversification, port activities, and tourism.
Some examples of technology drivers include connected/autonomous vehicle implementation and shared mobility costs and usage.