© Conservation Design Forum, Elmhurst, IL
What if we rely on innovation and technological improvements to make our region better?
The region could continue to grow outward, but use clean energy and more efficient homes and vehicles to reduce the impact of development. To reduce the impacts of new construction on the environment and energy use, homes and businesses could use "green" development practices. The use of advanced technology and alternative fuels could allow transportation systems to operate more efficiently and support the use of alternative transportation in lower-density areas.
This future for our region would let us continue to grow as we have been -- but it relies on the adoption of advanced technology that may or may not come to pass.
Policy and Investment Choices for "Innovate"
In 2040, the prevailing land use pattern can be described as "green development." Growth will occur in undeveloped areas at a higher rate than the other scenarios, but will be designed to reduce environmental impact through green design and the use of new technologies.
Community design features will include:
- Conservation design to cluster homes, create open space, and save infrastructure costs, and corresponding reduction of regulatory barriers to affordable housing
- Best practices in stormwater management and wastewater management to accommodate new development and protect sensitive natural features
- Urban design features such as pedestrian facilities in new development
- Energy conservation in building design, both in new construction and retrofits for older buildings
The region's success in attracting and retaining businesses will depend on our ability to innovate and adapt. The region will become a globally-recognized center of "green jobs," including green technology development, green manufacturing, and similar industries. The region's innovative business climate will also extend to other fields beyond green jobs.
Activities to support economic innovation include:
- Support and promotion of growth of "green jobs"
- Support for industry clusters in targeted industries
- Coordinating research institutions and the private sector to support technology transfer and commercialization and overall create a climate of innovation
- Workforce development programs to improve skills to support green industries
The region will use technological improvements to reduce the negative effects of development and economic activity on the environment. A proactive approach to energy is a major feature of this scenario, which includes use of clean energy sources and changes in site and building design to reduce energy consumption and environmental impacts.
Use of non-renewable energy will be reduced by:
- Investments in alternative fuels, vehicle technology, and clean energy
- Aggressive energy conservation, including distributed generation and energy-efficient design principles
Design principles and features that reduce environmental impacts include
- Adoption of water conservation measures
The region will use advanced technology and innovative policy ideas, including ITS and variable pricing, to improve the functioning of the regional transportation system without tremendous capital expansion. More broadly, the region will also pursue transportation improvements that support innovative land use planning.
Technology-based improvements will include:
- Adoption of congestion pricing and variable parking pricing
- Development of Arterial Rapid Transit (ART) systems to improve bus service regionwide, supported by transit signal priority
- Advanced signal systems to improve travel conditions for all vehicles
- Extensive use of alternative fuels
- Adoption of advanced vehicle technology to speed travel and improve safety
Supported by new policies and ideas such as
- Context-sensitive design solutions
- Innovations in roadway design, including intersection improvements such as roundabouts
Transportation strategies have been evaluated in combinations, as scenarios. A report which describes the evaluation assumptions and results is available here.