Central Hamilton County Scenario Planning Study

Chattanooga, TN, United States of America
Tennessee Department of Transportation

The location of a Volkswagen assembly plant and other manufacturing industries will have major growth implications for Hamilton County, Tennessee, bringing positive change for economic development. The new employment hub and a proposed toll bridge over the nearby Tennessee River, however, bring major growth challenges as well, including more than 20,000 new homes and concerns for proper infrastructure, schools, and resources.

Under contract with the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), GS&P partnered with the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency (CHCRPA) to perform the Central Hamilton County Scenario Planning Study. Scenario planning is an approach that considers several alternative futures and what the outcomes might be under each one. Scenarios developed for Central Hamilton County include a ‘business as usual’ that continues the pattern of far-reaching, lower-density suburban and large-lot rural developments as well as scenarios that focus growth in distinct nodes and walkable neighborhoods. The study is truly comprehensive in nature, considering the implications of growth scenarios on transportation, schools, rural/farmland preservation, water, sewer systems, stormwater, and fire and police services.

The study findings were very effective in serving as a call to action for RPA staff to begin planning for change in Central Hamilton County. Key actions include:

  • Planning for more non-residential uses, such as retail and services, to serve the new residential growth.
  • Integrating schools, shopping and other activities with neighborhoods.
  • The introduction of different housing types and more compact neighborhoods to conserve green space, farmland and natural resources and to make places more walkable and human-scaled.
  • Coordination with utility providers to minimize the required infrastructure investments to serve new growth.
  • Better aligning origins (homes) and destinations (jobs, schools, shopping) to minimize the amount of travel required.

The RPA, TDOT and partner agencies will implement recommendations through an integrated comprehensive plan and long-range transportation plan.

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