Land Use

How 2040 Land Use will Drive Transportation
March 18

Transportation and land use are interdependent. The transportation system provides a way for people and goods to move, and the development patterns determine the paths they take. As a consequence, projecting future land use, and the number and location of people and jobs helps determine potential deficiencies in the transportation system.

Projections for the year 2040 include 2.1 million people and 1.1 million jobs for Franklin and the surrounding counties. That’s an increase of 400,000 people and 200,000 jobs. MORPC uses a computer model to distribute these new people and jobs into the region. The model depends on future land use plans that communities have in place for identifying the density and type of future development. Using this information, other data about environmental sensitivity, development suitability as measured by access to public services including transportation, transit, sewer and water are considered in determining where future people and jobs will be located. MORPC also tracks development, and the model allocates known housing and employment development to these areas.

The region is divided into sub-areas to assure that growth is distributed throughout the region. However, those areas with higher levels of expected densities were given a priority to attract growth. This way, the projections include choices for residential development. They also reflect an increasing market for mixed land uses that provide residents the option to use other modes of transportation such as walking, biking, or using transit.

As a result, the 2040 land use forecasts for the region consumes approximately 120 square miles of new land, which sounds like a lot. But, compared to previous projections where 270 square miles were marked for development, these 2040 forecasts are more accommodating to a broader variety of development styles.

Results from the model are available on an interactive map. The model results have been aggregated into jurisdictions, each of which has been further subdivided into community groups by using major roads, rivers and rails as boundaries.

MORPC is accepting comments about the projections through April 3rd. Please forward comments to Nancy Reger, Director, Regional Data & Mapping at