Planning for the Future

The Capital Area MPO worked with local governments in the region to produce a regional growth and development forecast based on what is likely to occur, as well as on our shared vision for the future.  This was driven in large part by the visions established in the various local comprehensive plan throughout the region.

As the metropolitan planning organization for the Capital region, CAMPO is required to develop forecasts for future growth and transportation patterns.  This information is used to assist in the development of the 2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan.  To accurately plan for meeting transportation needs, we need to know how much our region will grow and where our future population and jobs will be concentrated.  The Capital Region is projected to grow by some 950,000 people over the next 30 years — from just over 1 million up to 2 million people.  We also expect to add 300,000 more jobs to the region by 2040.

To determine where these additional people might live and work, the MPO works with local and regional partners to aggregate local comprehensive plans and use models to forecast future growth.  This 2040 effort marks a major leap forward in the region’s forecasting approach by incorporating geospatial data into a modeling program called CommunityViz.  This has enabled our region’s forecast to account for the capacity of land to accept future types of development.  The parcel records compiled from our region’s counties, totally over 600,000 parcels provide a highly accurate picture of the region’s current land use. We started with detailed information on how land is currently used — single-family residential, industrial, commercial, etc. We added comprehensive plans of local governments and mathematical models to predict which land is most likely to develop by the year 2040.

From this work we were able to create alternative pictures of how the region could develop in the future.  Using three primary scenarios, trend, community plans and transit node, we were able to test extreme ends of a spectrum, and engage our communities about our choices.

Will our growth rate exceed our ability to develop in a way that maintains our quality of life?  Will larger impacts, such as demographic shifts, changes in technology, climate change,  or globalization of the economy cause us to grow differently than expected?  Will our transportation system be able to adapt and meet future mobility needs?

What Does it Mean?

The greater Triangle Region is planning development that will accommodate an additional 1million people by 2040 (Based on combined land-use plans from local governments).  How we accommodate that growth will have wide ranging impacts on infrastructure needs, the economy and our quality of life.