The Plan

The Business as Usual Scenario

What if the region grew, but we continued to sprawl outward as we have in the past?

This scenario assumes an unaltered projection of the region’s development patterns from 1990 to 2010 out to the year 2050. This is the unlikely “do-nothing” approach we can use as a starting point to measure the progress made in the three citizen-created scenarios.

The Business as Usual

250_BAUThe “Business As Usual” Scenario would see the trends of the past continue into the future. New jobs and homes would continue to grow on rural land while homes in first-ring suburbs as well as central cities would be abandoned. This sprawling development would be harder to serve by public transit.

  • 1,553 lane miles of new roads to build and maintain
  • 2 out of 3 new homes would go on previously undeveloped land
  • Over 60,000 homes would be left abandoned in parts of our cities, suburbs and elsewhere
  • Over 58,000 acres of current and potential prime farmland would be lost to development
  • Local governments would have to spend 36% more than the amount they collect in revenue
  • Only 1% of new homes and 4% of new jobs would have access to frequent transit service

Measuring the Business as Usual scenario against our priorities

Common priorities for the future of development in Buffalo Niagara were emphasized by citizens at the Scenario Planning Mapping Workshops. Here is how the Business as Usual scenario would meet those priorities.


BAU Scenario - Grow Where We've GrownAbout half of new development would fall within urbanized areas, adding more infrastructure while existing infrastructure in urban areas would be neglected.

BAU Scenario - Walkable CommunitiesMost jobs and homes would be built in low-density, single-use developments where most daily needs can only by accessed by automobile.

BAU Scenario - Connect the RegionWe would drive even more than now. The sprawl of homes and jobs would make building and maintaining infrastructure more costly and providing transit service more difficult.

BAU Scenario - Protect NatureOne-third of our current undeveloped, natural areas would remain as farmland and environmental services in rural areas would be replaced by large homes on large lots.

BAU Scenario - Fiscal ImpactsHousing and jobs would grow revenue on undeveloped lands, but these additions to the tax base would not be enough to cover the costs of extending services to these sites.

Click here to find out how this scenario compares to the three alternatives.