Treasure Valley transportation planning is hampered by forecasts that are based upon wishes and not on metrics. All future traffic numbers are predicted on the basis of land uses and development. People, shopping and jobs create the need to travel.
COMPASS does an excellent job at forecasting traffic numbers, but the underlying land use numbers are not created through any rigorous process. Developers determine their projects by examining market demand, services, accessibility and competition. That is why a regional mall is located near the freeway in Boise but there is little on Swan Falls Road.
Treasure Valley’s regional planners draw maps to show how they want to see development, without the current market-driven tools or any rigorous market research. Planners therefore completely missed the commercial developments at Ten Mile and McMillan and underestimated the Valley’s population growth after 2008.
The solution to better transportation planning is to base land use plans on the developers’ market-level analyses, focusing on access, services, and competition. Instead of one, 20-year forecast, planners need an iterative process of 20, one-year forecasts. This will maintain the overall planning process and can be incrementally adjusted to reflect current trends and new developments.
Dave Szplett, Kuna