Strategic planning is becoming increasingly important as a means to help state and metropolitan area governments select policies and actions to address pressing issues that are fraught with uncertainty. More specifically, Federal direction has challenged state, regional, and local transportation agencies with measuring the outcomes of decisions through performance-based planning, including considering how transportation solutions may impact future goals such as sustainability, health, mobility, etc. Further complicating matters, plans need to be resilient to changing transportation and land use trends and the implications of emerging technologies and constraints. VisionEval is an open source common framework building on the successful GreenSTEP family of strategic planning tools that is intended to address these needs.
VisionEval is a recently established partnership merging this family of tools into an open-source project with a supporting community forum of partner agencies and others sharing in its use and enhancement. The goal is to support a broad array of potential tool uses and enable pooled enhancements expanding the types of outcomes measured or refine the specificity of transportation and land use solutions considered. The work to date by the founding FHWA-OregonDOT partnership has focused on the technical components of putting the various tools on a common programming framework. Bolstered by interest at an RPAT Peer Exchange in October 2015, efforts are underway to build a supportive community around the tool, drawing from successful past and interested future users nationally, who will both define the policy needs and uses of these tools, and set their direction moving forward.
NEW Join VisionEval Project’s next chapter! The FHWA-hosted pooled fund project, Collaborative Development of New Strategic Planning Models, is now open and accepting contributions: Pooled Fund Project Website
Explore the information below to learn more about VisionEval and contribute to our ongoing efforts.
The family of VisionEval tools began with a tool designed to measure GHG emission outcomes in Oregon (GreenSTEP). It was rebranded the Regional Strategic Planning Model (RSPM) when broader measures such as health, household costs, and other outcomes were added. The tool was adapted nationally in modified form as RPAT (Rapid Policy Assessment Tool) and EERPAT (Energy and Emissions Reduction Policy Analysis Tool). This tool evaluates transportation investment and policy strategies such as increased transit service, pricing, parking management, etc. combined with land use plans to assess how different combinations of investment and policy actions impact travel behavior and budgets and thus influence desired community outcomes/goals. The short runtimes enable thousands of scenarios to be evaluated testing plan resilience and has resulted in several web-based interactive visualization tools to explore policy/investment trade-offs with stakeholders and the public.
Oregon has found significant value in RSPM to support performance-based planning in developing future plans, and most MPOs in the state are using the it (and in some cases RPAT), with future interest in enhancements. Several current and past pilot users of RPAT and EERPAT across the country continue to find value from the tool in greenhouse gas planning efforts. This project builds on these collective achievements and allows pooling of resources and energy that will result in better tools, increased user base, a larger pool of technical developers, and a community forum sharing best practices in how the tools are supporting land use and transportation decision-making conversations across the nation.