The thriving City of Madison expects to see a 25% increase in population by 2040. As the city prepares its 2040 Comprehensive Plan update, the need for an enhanced public transit system via bus rapid transit (BRT) emerged as a key component in supporting a socially equitable future for a growing and increasingly diverse population.
Madison sought to raise the bar and go beyond the standard planning conversation to explore how an added BRT system would not only impact transit accessibility, but also related factors like public health, emissions, and more.
City of Madison Planner Ben Zellers attributes this challenge of quantifying future growth scenarios as the catalyst for bringing UrbanFootprint onboard: “We needed a better way to model impacts and benefits of what BRT could do for the city and region.”
The City of Madison is using UrbanFootprint to develop several alternative scenarios to truly understand the full impact of future BRT corridor options and what would happen if the community were to support more corridor redevelopment in the long term.
UrbanFootprint’s real-time impact analysis has allowed Madison to expand the Comprehensive Plan conversation beyond standard planning metrics to critical factors like household costs, vehicle-miles traveled (VMT), residential water use, residential energy use, emissions, and more.
Zellers shared, “Using UrbanFootprint has helped us go beyond general benefits and estimates to quantify specific predicted outcomes. We are now able to put numbers to solutions and project how each scenario will impact our efforts to increase transit ridership and reduce VMT.”
Iterative scenario planning and quick analysis across a wide range of impacts have also proven to be instrumental in supporting transparent communication and fostering productive feedback from the community and stakeholders.
Zellers noted “UrbanFootprint is a powerful tool for helping the public make informed decisions about how various growth styles will impact the long-term well-being of their community. UrbanFootprint has played an important role in our city’s transportation planning and Comprehensive Plan update. Moreover, it has reduced the amount of time we spend on data prep, allowing us to focus on creating better outcomes for the community.”