TRANSPORTATION & COMMUNITIES Scenarios:
Choices for
the Future

The following scenarios were drafted by the Transportation and Communities Action Team to represent possible outcomes for Utah’s urban and suburban development in 2050. The scenarios differed in the following variables:

  • The variety and types of housing in communities
  • People’s proximity to public transportation, amenities, and services
  • Where growth occurs
  • How closely the housing built matches what Utahns are projected to want and afford
  • The extent to which a pattern of mixed-use centers is created

The scenarios were presented to the public as part of the Your Utah, Your Future survey in spring 2015.

The scenarios were titled Allosaurus, Bonneville Trout, Seagull, Quaking Aspen, and Sego Lily (the state fossil, fish, bird, tree, and flower).

82% OF UTAHNS SELECTED THE QUAKING ASPEN AND SEGO LILY SCENARIO

ALLOSAURUS SCENARIO

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By 2050, the downtown areas of larger cities like Salt Lake City, Provo, Ogden, and Sandy thrive with the addition of jobs, shopping, and housing, mostly in high-rise buildings. Outside these downtowns, we continue the development trends of the last 20 years, with most suburban communities composed of single-family homes. There are few apartments, townhomes, houses on small lots, etc., in suburban areas because these communities mandate minimum lot sizes that limit what developers can build. In the downtowns where smaller units are welcome, lack of available land forces the construction of high-rise buildings that cost considerably more per square foot to build, making units too expensive for many Utahns.

New roads and some public transportation carry commuters to the densely populated downtown areas. In these downtowns, people can walk, bike, take public transportation, or drive short distances to their destinations. Everywhere else, housing is generally separated from jobs, shopping, and public transportation, so most people drive longer distances.

In the downtown areas, there is excellent access to connected parks and trails, while these facilities are sparser and more disconnected in suburbs.

BONNEVILLE TROUT SCENARIO

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Bonneville_102115.jpgThe development trends of the last two decades continue. By 2050, most housing is single-family homes. Based on what Utahns want and can afford, significantly fewer townhomes, apartments, and small-lot homes are available than needed. Many communities establish minimum lot sizes, which prevents a full range of housing options from being built. Because housing is generally far from jobs, shopping, and public transportation, people have to drive more and over long distances.

Most transportation investments are spent on building new roads, with some spent on improving the bus network. Because homes and businesses are more spread out, local infrastructure, like pipes and roads, must stretch farther to reach each building. The cost of maintaining and constructing such infrastructure is therefore higher.

Parks and trails are sparse and disconnected.

Seagull Scenario

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Seagull_102115.jpgBy 2050, housing generally matches what Utahns need with a mix of single-family homes (with various yard sizes), townhomes, apartments, and condominiums. Though many communities allow a variety of housing types, few focus on locating housing close to or in mixed-use centers containing jobs, shopping, recreation, and access to public transportation. Only a few of Utah’s older mixed-use centers are revitalized, and few new mixed-use centers are created in the suburbs.

Transportation investments are spent on rail and buses, with somewhat more being spent on building new roads. Because housing, jobs, shopping, and public transportation are not located near each other, many people have to drive longer distances.

Parks and trails are expanded and, in some areas, are connected together.

Quaking Aspen and Sego Lily Scenario

 

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By 2050, housing generally matches what Utahns need with a mixture of single-family homes (with various yard sizes), townhomes, apartments, and condominiums. In most communities, housing is close to or in mixed-use centers containing jobs, shopping, recreation, and access to public transportation. In or near these centers, people are more likely to walk, bike, take public transportation, or drive short distances to their destinations. Many of Utah’s older mixed-use centers are revitalized, and numerous new mixed-use centers are created in the suburbs. Communities work together to create a pattern of connected centers to improve convenience and affordability.

In many centers, multifamily and office buildings are low-rise (two to five stories). This reduces the cost of construction per square foot and increases affordability in comparison to high-rise construction.

To connect this network of centers, transportation investments are spent on a balanced system of roads, rail, and buses. We also improve connections to other states and countries through roads, high-speed rail, and airports. People do not have to drive as much because trips are shorter or made by taking public transportation, walking, or biking. Many people can live without a car or with only one car if they choose.

As communities work together, parks and trails become better connected and accessible within walking distance.

Scenario Summary

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