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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: What is insight2050?
Q: Why insight2050?
Q: Who is on the steering committee? Who is the chair of the steering committee?
Q: What’s the geographic scope of insight2050? What’s meant by “Central Ohio?”
Q: How is this effort funded? Why are the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and Columbus 2020 helping to fund the project?
Q: How does the work relate back to the region’s Metropolitan Transportation Plan that MORPC is conducting?
Q: What are the output metrics?
Q: How are the output metrics calculated?
Q: What is the basis for the future growth scenarios?
Q: Central Ohio has a lot of unique neighborhoods. Does insight2050 consider these differences in its model?
Q: How will the project deal with issues relating to education, race, crime, disenfranchisement, job training, and other issues that go beyond land use discussions?
Q: What is meant by public health in the context of this project?
Q: Will there be future phases of insight2050?
Q: How are the rural areas considered?
Q: Will insight2050 have an impact on the allocation of MORPC’s federal transportation funds?

Q: What is insight2050?

A: insight2050 is an effort to prepare Central Ohio for future growth. It seeks to generate objective metrics to help inform local decision making. The analysis behind the project relies on the Rapid Fire model, developed by project consultants Calthorpe Associates. The model tests the impacts of varying land use patterns to accommodate growth projected for the region by 2050. insight2050 is not a regional plan but rather a tool that provides key data to decision makers to help inform their choices.

Q: Why insight2050?

A: Central Ohio is projected to grow by more than 500,000 people by 2050. insight2050 deals with the questions related to that growth, such as:

  • How will our communities be able to accommodate that growth?
  • How will that growth differ from the regional growth of the last 30 years?
  • Will how we grow impact the cost of providing infrastructure and other services to our residents and businesses?

Land use patterns reflect many separate local decision making processes. The objective metrics generated by insight2050 can provide additional insights to these public and private decision makers while also enabling conversations related to the region’s future competitiveness, sustainability, and quality of life.

Q: Who is on the steering committee? Who is the chair of the steering committee?

A: Over 30 people volunteered to be part of the steering committee. The goal of this public/private stakeholder committee is to have a broad representation of the various disciplines that are affected by land use development – from transportation, to housing, to the environment, to farmers, to health.

Yaromir Steiner, founder and CEO of Steiner + Associates, serves as Chair of the project’s steering committee. He is a part of the Governance Committee for the Columbus District Council of the Urban Land Institute (ULI), a resident of New Albany, and is the developer behind mixed use destinations, such as Easton Town Center.

Q: What’s the geographic scope of insight2050? What’s meant by “Central Ohio?”

A: insight2050 covers Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Licking, Madison, Pickaway, and Union counties. This seven-county area is larger than the Columbus Urbanized Area, as designated by the US Census Bureau, but smaller than the Columbus Metropolitan Statistical Area or the Columbus Region as defined by Columbus 2020.

MORPC’s travel demand model covers all or part of these seven counties, which helps feed data assumptions necessary for the project. Full counties are also the smallest level of geography for which the state projects population growth, another necessary input for the project.

Q: How is this effort funded? Why are the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and Columbus 2020 helping to fund the project?

A: MORPC’s Transportation Policy Committee serves as the area’s federally recognized Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). In that role, MORPC must carry out a continuous, cooperative, and comprehensive transportation planning process. Through that process, MORPC allocates federal transportation funding designated for the region. Since land use has a direct impact on transportation, the committee allocated a portion of this funding for further study, planning, and tools related to regional development. Use of this funding for insight2050 required a local match, which came through Columbus 2020 and ULI Columbus (see Funding Partners).

Columbus 2020 serves as the region’s economic development organization that, along with others, continues to leverage the strengths of the Columbus Region to add jobs and attract and retain a talented workforce. Projects like insight2050 will help the region’s leaders understand, evaluate, and prepare for the impacts of future growth and development so that the region can develop the capacity to remain attractive for employers and workforce talent.

The Urban Land Institute (ULI) is an international non-profit research and education organization focused on real estate and land use. Its members are real estate developers, private sector development professionals, and public sector officials. In 2012, the ULI Columbus District Council published Columbus 2050: Creating Blueprints for Change. Through their participation in insight2050, the local council’s governance committee seeks to build on the Columbus 2050 report to provide more detailed data and metrics for the region.

Q: How does the work relate back to the region’s Metropolitan Transportation Plan that MORPC is conducting?

A: MORPC’s Transportation Policy Committee serves as the area’s federally recognized Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). One of their responsibilities is to update and adopt a Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) every four years. The plan prioritizes short and long range strategies and projects, covering at least 20 years.

In order to anticipate future transportation needs, the plan must consider the impact of future growth and development on regional travel. MORPC uses a model to allocate state population projections and new jobs throughout the region based on local land use plans.

The analysis behind insight2050 relies on the Rapid Fire model, developed by project consultants Calthorpe Associates. The Rapid Fire model does not project where development will or will not occur by 2050. It projects the impacts of scenarios that are made of varying proportions of different growth patterns (such as urban infill or standard suburban).

If a preferred scenario is selected as part of this project, it can serve as guidance to local communities to change their land use plans and also provide additional input into the land use allocation model MORPC uses to distribute new growth. MORPC will continue to rely on local existing/future land use plans and ensure that the future land use data fed into the travel demand model for estimating future traffic volumes used in the development of the Metropolitan Transportation Plan is vetted by the communities, as they always have been.

Work on the 2016-2040 Columbus Area Metropolitan Transportation Plan is already underway. Land use assumptions must be finalized in late 2014 or early 2015.

Q: What are the output metrics?

A: The analysis behind insight2050 relies on the Rapid Fire model, developed by project consultants Calthorpe Associates. The model tests the impacts of varying future growth scenarios. The metrics it produces include:

  • Air Pollutant and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • Fuel use and cost
  • Building energy use and cost
  • Water use and cost
  • Land consumption
  • Fiscal impacts on local governments (cities, villages, and townships)
  • City revenues
  • Public health

Q: How are the output metrics calculated?

A: The analysis behind insight2050 relies on the Rapid Fire model, developed by project consultants Calthorpe Associates. The Rapid Fire model does not project where development will or will not occur by 2050, but instead looks at the type and general pattern of development. It categorizes the region into three regional general ‘place types’:

  • Urban
  • Compact
  • Standard

For the model, these places differ based on:

  • Intensity and Mix of Use (based on the Activity Density: number of jobs and households per acre)
  • Walkability and Street Connectivity (based on Intersection Density: number of walkable intersections per square mile)
  • Regional Travel (based on Household VMT: miles traveled per household per year)

Place types and the housing units and jobs within them vary in their transportation, fiscal, environmental, and public health performance. Scenarios that accommodate new growth with different proportions of place types vary in their performance across the range of RapidFire metrics. The model analyzes performance in every year up to the scenario target year (2050) and can thus produce results for both annual and cumulative impacts.

Q: What is the basis for the future growth scenarios?

A: The project team is relying on input from the steering committee to shape the future growth scenarios. It has also employed a vast amount of research on past trends and other market research into the demographic projections for the study area. The scenarios are intended to illustrate the differing impacts of varying future growth patterns, and are not meant to serve as a prescriptive vision or plan for the region.

Q: Central Ohio has a lot of unique neighborhoods. Does insight2050 consider these differences in its model?

A: The analysis behind insight2050 relies on the Rapid Fire model, developed by project consultants Calthorpe Associates. The Rapid Fire model does not project where development will or will not occur by 2050 but only looks at the type and general pattern of development. It categorizes the region into three regional place types:

  • Urban
  • Compact
  • Standard

While these place types are carefully calibrated to the development conditions of the Columbus region, they are not meant to convey the intricate variations of the unique neighborhoods across the region. The place types capture general land patterns and their impacts and thus allow for a more informed and broader regional understanding of the impacts of future growth and development.

Future phases of insight2050 may seek to develop additional, more localized tools for local governments to use within their own jurisdictions to help measure the relative impacts of their future growth. Such variation may be accommodated at that level of analysis.

Q: How will the project deal with issues relating to education, race, crime, disenfranchisement, job training, and other issues that go beyond land use discussions?

A: The project team and steering committee may choose to address some of these issues through policy and program recommendations. However, the analysis behind insight2050 relies on the Rapid Fire model, developed by project consultants Calthorpe Associates. The model tests the impacts of varying future growth scenarios. The metrics it produces include:

  • Air Pollutant and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • Fuel use and cost
  • Building energy use and cost
  • Water use and cost
  • Land consumption
  • Fiscal impacts on local governments (cities, villages, and townships)
  • City revenues
  • Public health

Indirectly, the ability of communities, institutions, and individuals to deal with these other issues may relate to the projected impacts from the Rapid Fire model. For example, higher government fiscal impacts may limit the revenue available to address these issues; higher household costs may have a disproportionate impact on the individuals affected by these issues.

Q: What is meant by public health in the context of this project?

A: The analysis behind insight2050 relies on the Rapid Fire model, developed by project consultants Calthorpe Associates. The model tests the impacts of varying future growth scenarios. One of the items that changes in relation to land use patterns is transportation. Consequently, the model focuses on the health impacts of automobile transportation-related air pollution. Certainly, while other policy decisions will have an impact on public health, the Rapid Fire model does not test these situations. Future phases may seek to look into other public health issues.

Q: Will there be future phases of insight2050?

A: Future phases of insight2050 may seek to develop additional, more localized tools for local communities to use within their own jurisdictions to help measure the relative impacts of their future growth.

These future phases are subject to the interest and participation of communities and businesses throughout the region, and would require additional funding commitments.

Q: How are the rural areas considered?

A: The analysis behind insight2050 relies on the Rapid Fire model, developed by project consultants Calthorpe Associates. The Rapid Fire model does not project where development will or will not occur by 2050 but only looks at the type and general pattern of development. It categorizes the region into three regional place types:

  • Urban
  • Compact
  • Standard

While these place types are carefully calibrated to the development conditions of the Columbus region, they are not meant to convey the intricate variations of the unique neighborhoods across the region. The place types capture general land patterns and their impacts and thus allow for a more informed and broader regional understanding of the impacts of future growth and development.

The model has been customized to accommodate the different land use patterns and government fiscal structures in unincorporated areas, which would include most rural areas. The project team has customized the characteristics of and assumptions behind the place types in unincorporated areas to account for lower densities and different impacts found there.

Q: Will insight2050 have an impact on the allocation of MORPC’s federal transportation funds?

It is important to note that insight2050 is not a regional plan. If a preferred scenario is selected as part of this project, it can serve as guidance to local communities to change their land use plans and also provide additional input into the land use allocation model MORPC uses to distribute new growth. MORPC will continue to rely on local existing/future land use plans and ensure that the future land use data fed into the travel demand model for estimating future traffic volumes used in the development of the Metropolitan Transportation Plan is vetted by the communities, as they always have been.