The insight2050 project, led by the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC), set out to prepare central Ohio for an additional 500,000 people and 300,000 jobs by 2050. Like many other metropolitan areas in the United States, this presents a new set of challenges for the Columbus region as 80% of household growth will be driven by aging baby boomers and young adults, a demographic shift that requires a broader range of housing and community options. This growth is also accompanied by a host of fiscal, health, and mobility challenges, as the region and local jurisdictions face infrastructure constraints, resource limitations, and growing transportation issues; in 2011, Columbus-area commuters spent 40 hours stuck in traffic.
Local and regional policymakers, business leaders, developers, and public stakeholders wanted to better understand the potential impacts of different growth and public investment options, with a particular focus on fiscal efficiency in the delivery of infrastructure public services.
Calthorpe Analytics worked with MORPC on an extensive scenario study to highlight the environmental, social, and fiscal outcomes of various land use options. This analysis, powered by the RapidFire and UrbanFootprint models, allowed all community stakeholders to easily understand the impacts of a range of development scenarios across an array of key factors like land consumption, fiscal impacts, household costs, vehicle miles traveled, greenhouse gas emissions, public health, energy use, and water demand.
Armed with a comprehensive view of future scenario results, MORPC was able to clearly convey development tradeoffs and effectively steer community stakeholders toward finding the most sustainable solution for their region. Easy access to more detailed information fostered a better and more inclusive community conversation. MORPC created a vision for the Columbus region that balanced economic growth with community desire for more complete, walkable, and environmentally sustainable communities. The region is now embarking on an UrbanFootprint-powered transit corridor planning process which will serve to facilitate the implementation of the objectives defined via the insight2050 process.