Since 2001, the Calthorpe Analytics team has engaged with the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), the nation’s largest metropolitan planning organization, in a progression of regional planning processes. From the broad public engagement component of the Southern California Compass Blueprint project to scenario development and modeling for the region’s first Sustainable Communities Strategy,, SCAG has evolved with Calthorpe Analytics to forward community-, economy- and climate-aware practices in comprehensive regional planning.
From 2001 to 2003, Calthorpe Associates and Fregonese Calthorpe Associates worked with SCAG to craft a long-range vision for the Southern California region. Covering six counties, 185 cities, and more than 34,000 square miles of land, the project engaged a diverse public in crafting alternative development scenarios for the region’s future. The Compass vision scenario coordinates land use, population, and employment growth with transportation investments. It focuses growth on major transit corridors and results in improved air quality, a reduction in roadway system impacts, expanded housing diversity, and lower infrastructure costs.
The Calthorpe Analytics team assisted SCAG in their 2012 RTP/SCS process by providing timely development and analysis of a range of four regional land use and transportation scenarios. Integrating elements of existing plans and past planning efforts, the scenarios varied in their distribution of new homes and jobs throughout the region, the housing mix of new residential growth relative to past trends or future market demand, and their assumed levels of transportation investment. SCAG used the comparative results to facilitate discussion among its constituents and with the general public. With California regional planning now grounded in Senate Bill 375’s mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the relative savings in greenfield land consumption, local infrastructure costs, fuel, energy, and water use; household costs; and public health incidences resulting from more compact, walkable, and transit-oriented growth patterns have been presented as “co-benefits” to reducing emissions – underscoring the necessary role of land use and transportation investment strategies in the fight against climate change.