Metropolitan Kansas City's
Long-Range Transportation Plan


Planning for the future

The 2040 forecast is an estimate of the land-use change most likely to occur in Greater Kansas City by 2040 given past trends, known demographic and economic shifts, and expected changes in federal, state and local government policy. Just like the plan must be financially constrained to be realistic, the land-use forecast must be constrained to be consistent with the latest available economic and demographic information. In particular, this updated forecast takes into account data from the 2010 U.S. Census, which was not available at the time the last forecast was adopted, and the impact of the Great Recession on expected employment growth.

forecast mapsThis new data shows the region was not growing as quickly as had been previously forecast. The Great Recession forced a realization that the region’s economy had been underperforming, compared to the nation, since the beginning of the decade. The nationally sluggish recovery and declining labor force participation meant it was likely that U.S. employment would likely grow more slowly in the future than had been previously expected. As a result, the projected total employment growth between 2010 and 2040 was reduced relative to the prior forecast, from an increase of nearly 600,000 to an increase of a little over 300,000 in the current update. With this change, the region’s employment is forecast to reach 1.3 million in 2040.

Similarly, the 2010 census revealed that instead of adding 250,000 residents per decade, the region was only adding 200,000. As a result, the forecast for the overall population growth of the region was reduced to 600,000 over the 30-year forecast period, down from 750,000 in the prior forecast.
As a result, the region is expected to |
be home to 2.5 million people by 2040.

Chapter 8.0: Land use, centers and corridors

baseline and adaptive scenariosDevelopment of scenarios

In 2010, MARC convened a regional conversation on alternative land use and development growth scenarios, as part of the population/ employment growth forecast, during the creation and adoption of Transportation Outlook 2040. During this process, a baseline forecast and an adaptive scenario were developed. The baseline forecast was based on the continuation of past development trends where future region’s growth occurred outward with decline in the urban core, with a total cost of infrastructure development to support this development pattern was estimated at $8.7 billion.

adopted scenario mapThe adaptive scenario envisioned a future where new development might look different due to emerging trends such as demographic changes, energy price increase and demand for more walkable environments. Under this adaptive scenario, 40 percent of region’s population growth was allocated to previously developed areas along key centers and corridors. This scenario led to a virtual disappearance in urban core decline, a 25 percent rate of vacant land consumption, and a reduced cost of local infrastructure to support development of “only” $3.4 billion.

After extensive regional discussions on willingness to adopt strategies and policies to reach the adaptive scenario, the adopted forecast represented the best estimate of the most likely outcome, essentially a middle ground between the baseline and adaptive scenarios. The adopted forecast captured approximately 18 percent of region’s growth in existing activity centers and corridors with likely future transit service. Core decline was diminished but not eliminated – resulting in a savings of
$2 billion compared to baseline pattern of growth.

To the right, see the baseline, adaptive and adopted scenario maps from 2010 plan.

County-by-county forecasts

Comprehensive forecast data (Excel)

Population forecast by county

  2010 2020 2030 2040 Difference 2010–2040
Cass 99,478 114,166 128,037 140,828 41,350
Clay 221,939 261,433 296,452 328,576 106,637
Jackson 674,158 692,187 714,702 742,034 67,876
Johnson 544,179 638,384 726,888 810,574 266,395
Leavenworth 76,227 84,239 92,370 99,351 23,124
Miami 32,787 37,140 42,354 47,420 14,633
Platte 89,322 104,769 122,115 140,655 51,333
Wyandotte 157,505 165,288 173,285 183,105 25,600








Employment forecast by county

  2010 2020 2030 2040 Difference 2010–2040
Cass 27,322 31,750 35,708 38,586 11,264
Clay 99,921 111,066 121,236 129,109 29,188
Jackson 375,118 389,781 405,646 421,530 46,411
Johnson 329,911 390,351 445,013 487,242 157,331
Leavenworth 27,814 29,488 31,009 32,216 4,402
Miami 9,544 10,490 11,303 11,912 2,367
Platte 43,748 59,072 73,093 83,841 40,092
Wyandotte 86,568 98,031 109,014 117,687 31,119