Central New Mexico Climate Change Scenario Planning Project and Long Range Metropolitan Transportation Plan

The Mid-Region Council of Governments of New Mexico (MRCOG) is integrating climate change analysis into long-range transportation and land use planning through the Central New Mexico Climate Change Scenario Planning Project. MRCOG partnered with federal land management agencies, the U.S. Department of Transportation Volpe Center, and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to plan for a regional reduction in future greenhouse gas emissions, and to prepare for the potential impacts of climate change. Utilizing a scenario planning process, a multi-agency transportation and land use strategy for the Albuquerque region of New Mexico was developed.

The resulting scenarios are the same that are utilized for the region’s Long-Range Metropolitan Transportation Plan, the Futures 2040 MTP - which guides federal, state, and local funding for transportation investments. The Climate Change Scenario Planning Project was conducted alongside the Futures 2040 MTP and was completed early 2015.

The first step in the project was to analyze the future climate conditions in the region. Priority transportation-related climate impacts taken into consideration include:

  • Higher maintenance costs (e.g., faster pavement deterioration)
  • Construction and operations implications (e.g., shorter construction season)
  • More damage from extreme events (e.g., flash floods, wildfires, and landslides)

Focal Land Use/Regional Planning issues included:

  • More frequent water shortages
  • Greater power demand
  • Higher vulnerability for development near riparian areas/on the urban-wildland interface

The project resulted in a preferred land use and transportation scenario for the region that accommodates anticipated growth. Aside from significant investments in the region’s public transit system, most of the benefits from the Preferred Scenario came from land use policy changes that targeted development in several activity centers, improved development review processes, and increased density in the core urban area of the region. These policies result in reduced driving and a smaller developed footprint, which in turn reduced GHG emissions and development in climate impact risk areas.

The U.S. DOT Volpe Center completed a final report in 2015 about the initiative Integrating Climate Change in Transportation and Land Use Scenario Planning - An Example from Central New Mexico - which includes the process as well as results. 

The Central New Mexico Climate Change Scenario Planning Project was a partnership between MRCOG, the FHWA, U.S. DOT Volpe Center, the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 


Publication Date: 2015

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Resource Types:

  • Assessment
  • Plans (other)
  • Scenario planning

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