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Benefits and Impacts

Four Planning Scenarios

The four scenarios represent a range of land use and transportation combinations explored within the context of the Wasatch Choice for 2040. They each contain the same number of people, jobs, and amount of money spent on regional transportation, but with different levels of growth occurring in and around centers. Thus, as stakeholders decided which scenario they preferred, they could attribute the scenarios' advantages and disadvantages to how transportation and development patterns unfold together, not to the amount of money or growth. The WFRC held several small area meetings to gather input from local governments on the four scenarios. Read their comments.

Scenario 2 is consistent with the previous Regional Transportation Plan, and each of the other scenarios feature more or less growth around centers – places like downtowns and main streets – among other variables. Watch this video to learn more about the similarities and differences of each scenario.

See the four scenarios below, and learn more about the preferred scenario that was developed next.

Scenario ComparisonScenario Comparison

Scenario Maps

Scenario 1: Less Growth in Centers
Scenario 2: 2011-2040 Regional Transportation Plan
Scenario 3: More Growth in Centers
Scenario 4: Most Growth in Centers

About Centers

"Centered growth" is one of the key strategies of the Vision. Strategic changes to a small percent of our metropolitan area – places like downtowns, main streets and station area communities – can yield huge benefits. These centers take the strong market for accessible jobs and moderately priced/downsized living and enables them to grow where they do the most good for everyone – in centrally located areas and places with great transportation access. Centers:

  • Provide an array of housing choices to meet wants and needs
  • Reduce the time, distance and money it takes for people to reach their destinations
  • Enable us to reach more of those destinations by foot, bike and transit in addition to car
  • Help businesses reach more consumers and employees to have a selection of more job opportunities
  • Help us improve the air we breathe
  • Create walkable communities
  • Reduce growth pressure on the Wasatch Back
  • Reduce demand for scarce water

A variety of centers may continue to grow in the future that are similar to places in our region today – places like downtown Salt Lake City, Provo, Ogden, and emerging downtowns like Sandy. Centers can also be places like Station Park in Farmington, Fireclay District in Murray, Cottonwood Corporate Center in Cottonwood Heights and smaller centers that are growing with the market demand to work and live in accessible locations across the Wasatch Front.

Scenario Variables

Each scenario varied based on a variety of assumptions. Two assumptions that had significant effects on scenarios were the degree to which growth occurs in already-developed areas, known as “reinvestment” and the mix of housing that is anticipated in the coming decades.

The scenarios differ based on the level of growth from infill and redevelopment. In general, more growth is expected to occur through infill in the Wasatch Front because expansion is constrained by geographic features (the Great Salt Lake and the Wasatch Mountains). Within the scenarios, growth through reinvestment tends to support the expansion of public transportation like bus and light rail. This explains the correlation in the scenarios between the amount of growth that happens through infill and investment in public transportation.

Housing Mix
The housing mix also varies in the scenarios. Two-thirds of the region's housing consists of large-lot single-unit homes. However, major demographic changes are anticipated in the coming years. As the baby boom generation begins to retire, many will choose to downsize their homes, which will change the demand for housing across the region. The market nationwide is also experiencing shifting housing preferences among millennials. Thus the four scenarios explore a range of housing ideas. Scenario 1 is consistent with historic trends considering: 30 percent of new homes as smaller single-family homes, condominiums and townhomes. Scenario 4 contemplates a significant shift: 60 percent of the new homes as smaller-single family homes. All four scenarios are plausible given the significant demographic and market shifts anticipated in the Wasatch Front.

Four Scenario Review: 2015-2040

Click here for more information on the Four Planning Scenarios section of the 2015-2040 Regional Transportation Plan document.