Project Team members test out the “Chip Game” that will be used as part of the public outreach process.

Scenario planning is a process that can help prepare for the future and, more importantly, the uncertainty of the future. It provides a framework for developing a shared vision that takes into account how the variation in factors that shape a community (such as land uses, transportation investment and policy priorities) could impact the future. Scenario planning, when coupled with a desired vision for the future, provides a range of strategies (applicable under varying conditions) for making progress towards a shared future desired outcome.

The scenario planning process will evolve over the course of a year with three rounds of structured workshops. These workshops will align with the three phases of the RPSD — Discovery, Development and Implementation.  Workshop participants will be able to explore planning topics in meaningful ways. The planning topics will be selected from among significant policy emphasis areas for TOGETHER NORTH JERSEY (e.g., smart economic growth, workforce development, transit oriented development, health and safety etc.) and will contribute to important themes for the RPSD.

The scenario planning process includes three key sets of workshops:

  • Discovery Workshops will seek to answer the questions: “Where are we now?, Where are we headed?” Participants will be able to examine spatial patterns and trends for various sets of data topics at a variety of geographic scales. They will also be introduced to typologies (area and network) as a means for adding a regional perspective.
  • Visioning and Goal Setting Workshops will seek to answer the question, “Where do we want to be?” This will transition efforts from information discovery to the development of the scenarios to be presented and discussed with the public.
  • Implementation Workshops will seek to answer the question, “How do we get there?” Participants will conclude the outreach process by identifying potential implementation strategies and share success stories of local demonstration projects.

Using the input gathered through this process (and throughout the RPSD development), the NJTPA will develop a set of future scenarios based on preliminary technical data analyses to begin to answer the question of “Where do we want to be?” This will preliminarily begin to outline the scenarios. The scenario planning process will be tempered by the reality of on-the-ground conditions (e.g., socioeconomic, land use, natural environmental, etc.), investment budgets and policy as overall parameters.