California’s Senate Bill 375 (SB 375) encourages planning practices that create sustainable communities. It calls for each Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) to prepare a Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) as an integrated element of the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) that is updated every four years. The SCS is intended to show how integrated land use and transportation planning can lead to lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from autos and light trucks. This will be Fresno COG’s third SCS, which is based on the previous SCS adopted in 2018.
Uncertainty about the future is a major challenge inherent in long-range planning. To combat uncertainty, planning agencies are developing diverging assumptions of future conditions against which to model the resilience of their strategies. Notable examples include the California Transportation Plan 2050 (Caltrans) and Plan Bay Area 2050 (Metropolitan Transportation Commission). Fresno COG has adopted this practice and will include futures analysis in its 2022 SCS. Each planning scenario’s strategies will be tested against several futures: one base future, as well as three others. These futures would allow for a more robust analysis of land use and transportation strategies by including a stress test of the resilience of said strategies.
In February 2019, Fresno COG hosted two workshop events where stakeholders from a variety of organizations formed focus groups to discuss three proposed concepts for Fresno Futures:
- Extreme Climate
- High-Tech Innovation
- Regulatory Challenges.
From these focus groups, COG staff was able to gather a wealth of information on each Future, specifically the impacts of each Future and potential strategies that may be employed to address or mitigate these impacts.
In addition to these three extreme examples, COG staff will also develop a Base Future, consistent with results from the regional demographic forecast currently being developed. This Base Future will form the basis for our preferred SCS scenario, when chosen.
Staff’s recommendation for the development of these four futures will be brought before the RTP Roundtable on July 22, 2020 for approval.