Planning Council 

Winter E-Newsletter


Transportation Planning Council

Winter 2013

Editor's Message


The theme of this issue of the TPC newsletter is land use and transportation planning. This is always one of the more important topics dealt with by transportation planners, and we know that TPC members are interested in it; it is one of the primary topics in which you expressed interest in the last two members' surveys. A wide range of perspectives are offered on the nexus between land use and transportation planning:

  • Jaclyn Kuechenmeister provides insight into the potential for transit-oriented development in Phoenix, AZ, USA.
  • Ned Baier and Jennifer Willman explain the use of scenario planning in Lee County, FL, USA.
  • Chris Comeau discusses how corridor planning reflects neighborhood needs in Bellingham WA, USA.
  • Finally, Danja Petro and Perry Gross summarize the use of livability principles in their I-80 corridor study.

Daniel Kueper, AICP, PTP
Newsletter Editor 


Scenario Planning in Lee County, Florida


Ned Baier, AICP, Senior Project Manager
Jennifer Willman, AICP, Project Manager
Jacobs Engineering Group


The Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is undertaking an intensive effort to explore alternative ways the county could grow that would reduce or shorten vehicle trips and increase other travel options. Identifying future land use patterns as alternative scenarios will allow the MPO and citizens of Lee County to evaluate the costs and benefits of different patterns. At the end of this process, the MPO will select a preferred land use scenario, which will become the basis of the future transportation vision in the MPO's forthcoming 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP).


The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) encourage scenario planning as a way to enhance the traditional planning process. Scenario planning provides a framework for creating a shared future vision by analyzing various factors, such as transportation, economic, environmental, and land use issues. Through comparing scenarios and discussing their possible outcomes, the technique helps participants to identify and challenge assumptions about the future, discuss tradeoffs, and make more effective decisions about investments.


The FHWA Scenario Planning Guidebook (February 2011) provides examples of scenario planning analysis tools such as INDEX, CommunityViz, and UrbanSim. Many of these tools use a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) format so that users can geospatially plot scenarios and more easily visualize outcomes. More information from FHWA about scenario planning is available at 


For the Lee County project, the MPO retained Jacobs Engineering Group, assisted by Spikowski Planning Associates and Criterion Planners. Coordination among various stakeholders, local government and agency planners, the general public, the MPO Committees, and the MPO Board is occurring throughout scenario development, comparison of alternatives, and selection of the preferred scenario.

The consulting team is coordinating closely with all the local government planning staffs throughout the process of formulating alternative growth scenarios. Since land use decisions are ultimately made by each local government, it is very important that each of the local jurisdictions, particularly the community development staffs, participate in the process. The preferred scenario selected should be seen as achievable by local policymakers, even if substantial barriers lie ahead.


First steps in this process included the development of goals and objectives to identify desirable targets that the alternate land use scenarios may be able to achieve, and selection of measures of effectiveness that will be used to formally evaluate the scenarios. The goals and objectives are generally consistent with the results of the visioning process that Lee County has already undertaken as part of the Comprehensive Plan Evaluation and Appraisal Report (EAR) process over the last three years, in addition to all the local governments' most recent planning efforts.


An important component of this project is an interactive "planners workshop" in December 2013, to identify potential future concentrations of housing and jobs and help create the alternative scenarios.  This will be done using Criterion's INDEX land use model, which has an integrated database that can assess key indicators such as vehicle miles traveled, densities, and energy consumption.



INDEX is an integrated suite of planning support tools for neighborhoods, communities, and regions. It was introduced in 1994 for land use, transportation, and environmental planners and educators. INDEX applications usually begin with benchmark measurements of existing conditions to create a frame of reference for evaluating alternative futures. The tools are then used to design and visualize scenarios, score their performance, and compare and rank them in terms of goal achievement. Once a preferred alternative is selected, its incremental implementation can be evaluated for goal consistency, and cumulative changes can be measured with periodic progress reports.


Public engagement on the scenarios is planned to begin in early 2014. MetroQuest will be utilized as an online community engagement platform to evaluate the alternative land use scenarios, accessed on the web or mobile devices. This software enables the public to learn about the project and provide meaningful feedback using a variety of fun and visual screens. It is easy to mix and match screens to identify priorities, rate scenarios or strategies, add comments on maps, and much more.


Following the public engagement activities, scenario selection by the Lee County MPO Board is anticipated for late spring or summer 2014. The socioeconomic data for the development of the 2040 LRTP will be based on the selected scenario. For more information about the Lee County MPO Land Use Scenarios Project, visit, or contact Don Scott, Lee MPO Executive Director, at (239) 330-2241, or email