Follow best practices
CMAP has approached scenario construction by identifying investment and policy variables, which we have termed strategies in our process. Scenarios each feature a combination of strategies, or actions that the region could take, so that each scenario is a potential course of action. CMAP used several standards for how scenarios were constructed, listed below. (Please note that a baseline or trend scenario was prepared, mainly to illustrate the costs of inaction. The standards below do not apply to this baseline scenario.)
• Scenarios should be logical and internally consistent, and should also be reasonable views of the future, rather than “straw men” which exist to be destroyed. Thematic scenarios can provide more realistic futures than the other methods, which tend toward extremes.
• The purpose of scenarios is to prioritize actions for implementation. Because thematic scenarios are combinations of actions, they can do this. (So could several other of the scenario construction methods, as well.)
• In comparison to the reference scenario, each scenario should lead to an overall improvement in environmental quality, economic competitiveness, equity, and other vision themes.