San Joaquin Valley Growth Response Study - Phase III

The San Joaquin Valley Growth Response Study Phase III was the third phase of a larger effort sponsored by Caltrans to examine how smart growth concepts can address growth impacts that are expected in the valley over the next 50 years. Phase III focused on showing jurisdictions in the Fresno/Madera County region the utility of two GIS-based models for evaluating the transportation, land use, and air quality impacts of various growth scenarios. These planning tools made the impacts of growth more apparent to decision-makers and the public, and the GIS tools were made available to the jurisdictions for on-going land use and transportation planning to focus on reducing the negative effects of rapid urbanization (i.e., poor air quality, growing congestion), while encouraging more sustainable growth.

CD+A was a subconsultant to VRPA Technologies in a multi-disciplinary team. CD+A was the primary land use and GIS consultant and was responsible for developing the land use/transportation scenarios with project stakeholders, processing the scenarios through the GIS tools, working with the transportation consultant to prepare inputs to the regional transportation models, and presenting the scenarios and their results to local decision-makers and stakeholders. CD+A collected, assembled, standardized, and reconfigured GIS data from 2 counties; 17 incorporated communities; and several unincorporated communities, new towns, and developments.

Scenarios were first prepared for input into a land use allocation model (What If?) that distributed projected employment and population growth to areas designated with future land uses. Results were then processed for input into the region's transportation models and a visualization/indicator model (INDEX) to evaluate the effects of the scenario against key indicators chosen by local decision-makers and stakeholders. An 'Initial Run' of the models assessed the potential impacts and benefits of existing land use and transportation policies and practices. Two alternative scenarios explored the impacts and benefits of different approaches to compact and mixed-use land use patterns, and major investments in transit. This analysis illustrated how these GIS-tools could help decision-makers and stakeholders understand the implications of growth and transportation policy choices.

Since project completion, CD+A has worked with various communities and in multi-country efforts to model smart growth scenarios utilizing the datasets assembled for the GRS. Working with the same consultant team, various transportation options were developed, including an enhanced system of inter-community bus service, Bus Rapid Transit, Light Rail, and Commuter and High Speed Rail, to model future growth patterns in the Valley.