Modeling Long-Range Transportation and Land Use Scenarios with Citizen-Generated Policies in the Sacramento, California, Region

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - traffic, infrastructure - vehicle, land use - planning, ridership - forecasting, ridership - forecasting, ridership - growth, policy - environment, policy - congestion, policy - parking, economics - pricing, organisation - management, place - urban, mode - bus, mode - rail, mode - mass transit, mode - bus rapid transit


Welfare economics, Vehicle exhaust, Urban growth, Trips, Travel, Transportation planning, Transit, Traffic congestion, Simulation, Scenarios, Sacramento (California), Rail transit, Public transit, Public policy, Projections, Pricing, Poverty, Poor people, Parking payment systems, Parking fees, Mode share, Modal split, MEPLAN (Computer model), Mass transit, Low income groups, Low income families, Long range planning, Local transit, Land use planning, Journeys, Headways, Habitat (Ecology), Gridlock (Traffic), Fuel taxes, Forecasting, Exhaust gases, Exhaust emissions, Environmental policy, Environmental planning, Environmental management, Computer simulation, Bus rapid transit, Automobile exhaust, Animal ecology, Agriculture


The Sacramento, California, region has been engaged in an innovative long-range visioning process in 2004 and 2005; the regional transportation planning agency is defining and modeling several 50-year growth scenarios. The authors worked with environmental and social equity citizens’ groups to define policies that would reduce emissions, serve lower-income travelers better, and preserve habitats and agricultural lands in the region. The citizens’ groups rejected the new freeways planned for the region as well as the substantial freeway widenings for high-occupancy vehicle lanes. In addition, they defined a more ambitious transit system, involving new bus rapid transit lines and shorter headways for all rail and bus service. This transit-only plan was modeled by itself and along with a land use policy for an urban growth boundary and a pricing policy for higher fuel taxes and parking charges for work trips. A new version of the MEPLAN model was used to simulate these scenarios over 50 years, and findings about total travel, mode shares, congestion, emissions, land use changes, and economic welfare of travelers are described.