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Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I take this survey? How will the survey results be used?

Your voice is important. The Steering Committee for A Greater Madison Vision will use the survey results to prepare a vision and plan to guide public and private decisions about how the region grows – to foster exceptional quality of life, economic opportunity, and a healthy environment for all.

How we grow matters. Over the next 25 years the greater Madison region will grow by 150,000 people – almost enough to fill Camp Randall stadium twice. Where the people, houses, cars, businesses, schools, roads and more go, and how they fit together, matters to things we care about. Like how much time we spend stuck in traffic. Can we or our children find housing we can afford? How severe will future floods be?

Regions where leaders and people work together on common goals do better at meeting these regional challenges. That’s why leaders in greater Madison came together to create A Greater Madison Vision.

What is A Greater Madison Vision? Who is Involved?

A Greater Madison Vision is an initiative guided by 46 leaders from business, government and non-profit organizations, who make up the Steering Committee. The mission is to prepare a vision and plan to guide public and private decisions about how the region grows. The Capital Area Regional Planning Commission, a local unit of government, provides support to the initiative. It started three years ago. Year one focused on capacity building, research, and trend analyses. Year two focused on outreach, education and engagement. The current year focuses on scenario planning and the survey. Next year will focus on preparing and implementing the regional vision and plan.

What is the “greater Madison region”?

Dane County and surrounding communities. People in this area are connected by housing, jobs, shopping, recreation, socializing and the natural resources like water that span municipal boundaries.

This survey is different than others I have taken before. Where are the questions?

The survey was designed to be online and interactive in order to make it engaging and easy to take, and to increase participation. It allows people to explore “what if” scenarios as a way to think about and express priorities for the changes and options we face.

The survey asks you what actions you think are more and less important for communities to address. If it was a paper survey, the question might be, which of the actions below do you think is most important? Which do you think is second most important? The survey also asks, which of the four growth options (Part 4) do you think is best for the region?

Why don’t the “estimated impact” numbers at the bottom of the scenarios change when I change my “preferred order” of actions at the top of the page?

The estimated impact numbers were generated by a computer modeling program based on the growth maps. The program uses many databases, and generally requires hours to calculate impacts based on changes made to the regional maps by a single user. It is not capable of responding to multiple inputs simultaneously in real time. That said, the relative priority of actions within scenarios, assigned by survey takers, provides valuable public input.

I live outside of but near Dane County but the maps in the survey show just Dane County. Should I take the survey?

Yes. The maps show Dane County because data was not available to create larger, multi-county maps. However, we know that people travel back and forth across Dane County borders to work, shop, recreate and socialize. The larger region is also connected by environmental resources such as water, which flows across county and municipal boundaries. The survey is therefore intended for people who live in Dane and the surrounding counties. While we were unable to map the scenarios outside of Dane County, we included “Fast Fact” links to each scenario. Clicking on the “Results outside of Dane County” link explains how growth in each scenario would occur outside of Dane County.

How were the alternative futures developed?

The alternative futures were developed using analysis of trends, research about scenario planning around the country, and input received from stakeholders about what “driving forces” of change will most impact our region, and how we can best prepare for and respond to those forces. Using this information, Steering Committee members and staff for A Greater Madison Vision worked together to develop alternative futures narratives and actions. The scenarios are meant as vehicles to explore possible futures, and identify the desired aspects within each future, to establish an overall preferred future. The scenarios are not intended to represent complete futures from which one picks their favorite.

How were the “estimated impact” numbers generated? Why were these measures selected? What accounts for the differences between the numbers?

Staff from the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission worked with Steering Committee members and Planning Commissioners to create the scenario maps. The maps show where growth could occur based on each narrative and set of actions. The maps were created using modeling software called Urban Footprint, developed by Calthorpe Analytics.

Once maps are prepared by staff, the model generates estimated impacts on a broad range of measures. A subset of those measures was selected to include in the survey. Measures were selected that showed differences in estimated impacts (some of the measures showed no or little difference across scenarios and were not included).

The difference in estimated impacts from one scenario to the next mostly reflects the different levels of density in new growth. In general, the more compact the new growth, and the more that growth occurs in already developed areas (infill development) the lower the: energy, transportation and infrastructure costs; farmland and woodland converted to development; miles of travel generated; and greenhouse gas emissions generated.

How is the list of actions on Part 3, Review Your Preferred Future, generated?
The top four actions shown on Part 3 are your #1 preferred choices you made in your scenarios. The next four actions in Part 3 are your #2 choices in each scenario. And so on for the remaining actions. In Part 3 you are asked to create your final preferred order for all actions.

How can I learn the results of the survey?

Keep up-to-date with the A Greater Madison Vision project by following us on Facebook or Twitter .