TO:                  Mayor and Town Council


FROM:            W. Calvin Horton, Town Manager


SUBJECT:       Public Forum: Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Draft 2030 Socio-economic Projections


DATE:             January 12, 2004


The purpose of tonight’s public forum is to review the draft 2030 Socio-economic projections, receive public comment and review the recommendations of the Town’s Planning Board and Transportation Board. The projections were developed by the staff from local jurisdictions in coordination with the Metropolitan Planning Organization staff.


The attached resolution would provide the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Transportation Advisory Committee with recommendations on the 2030 projections. The adopted schedule for the development of the 2030 Plan requires the Transportation Advisory Committee to adopt the 2030 regional socio-economic data on January 14, 2004.




On November 24, 2003, the Council referred the draft projections to the Planning Board and Transportation Board for review and called a public forum for January 12, 2003 to receive public comment


The Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Urban Area adopted a 2025 Long Range Transportation Plan in May, 2003. Federal regulations require that the Plan be updated no later than January 1, 2006. In order to meet both an Environmental Protection Agency deadline of April, 2005 and a requirement to update the Regional Plan by January, 2006, the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Urban Area has proposed to update the 2025 Plan and prepare a 2030 Plan.


The Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Urban Area has adopted a schedule for completing 2030 Plan and meeting the April, 2005 deadline for air quality conformity analysis (Attachment 1). The schedule proposes that the Transportation Advisory Committee approve the 2030 Plan in October, 2004 and the air quality determination in March, 2005.


One of the first steps in that process is the development of socio-economic projections for 2030. Staff from the member jurisdictions has been working with staff from the Metropolitan Planning Organization to prepare draft 2030 projections for review. On November 12, 2003 the Transportation Advisory Committee reviewed and released for public comment the 2030 draft socio-economic projections.


The Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Urban Area held a series of public workshops to review important elements of the 2030 Plan. The workshop in Chapel Hill was held on December 4, 2003. The Transportation Advisory Committee held a public hearing on the 2030 projections on December 10, 2003.




A complete set of the draft 2030 projections is available for review in the Town Clerk’s office or on line at the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization website,  There also is a link to the Metropolitan Planning Organization website from the Town’s website. The projections include population, dwelling units, households, median income, employment and employment by type.


The projections were prepared using a variety of data sources. For housing, the staff used the 2000 census information and supplemented that data with certificates of occupancy data from Orange, Durham and Chatham counties to project housing information to December, 2002. Population estimates are based on the application of average persons per household ratios taken from the 2000 census data.


The estimate of 2002 employment was based on information provided by the North Carolina Employment Security Commission. This information was supplemented by data purchased from InfoUSA, a private economic forecasting consultant.


The 2030 projections were prepared using the previously approved 2025 socio-economic projections as a base. The 2025 projections were revised based on several factors. These included the addition of five years of growth for zones that not been built out in 2025 and, changes in land use designations or zoning classifications or proposals for development that were not available when the 2025 projections were adopted.


The data for both housing and employment has been under review by local jurisdictions. Our review of the Chapel Hill data has areas in which we have suggested modifications.   The modifications to the 2003 and 2030 data would change the county and sector totals in the county totals, which were approved for release on November 12, 2003, and are summarized below.


Regional Projections


The table below summarizes housing, population and employment projections for the Durahm-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Area, which includes Orange, Durham and the northern portion of Chatham County. Attachment 2, Key Data By County and Sector, includes a map of the area covered by the 2030 projections.


Table 1


Summary of 2030 projections by County



2030 Projected

Percent Change


Annual Growth Rate






























































Orange County and Chapel Hill Projections


We have identified several changes/corrections to the draft 2002 and 2030 data. The most significant changes were related to base 2002 employment numbers for Orange County, which did not include a complete assessment of employment at the University of North Carolina. We have received additional data from the University, which is reflected in the “corrected” version. We have also incorporated minor corrections to the 2002 employment numbers for other areas of Town.


Attachment 3 includes Thematic maps for Orange County from the November 12, 2003 2030 Regional Transportation Plan Socio-economic Data Report. These maps illustrate data by transportation analysis zone. We note that these maps were prepared with the original, uncorrected data.


We have summarized the housing, population and employment information included in the 2030 projections for Chapel Hill in Attachment 4. There are two tables included: one that reflects the data released on November 12, 2003 for public review (uncorrected) and a table that reflects the corrections and revisions to the data identified by Town staff (corrected). The tables break the Chapel Hill data into several subcategories, including Sector 13, which includes the southeast portion of Orange County, existing Town limits, and the Town Urban Services Area. The table also summaries information for the transportation analysis zones that make up the University main campus, the Downtown area and the Horace Williams area.  Attachment 4 also includes a map showing the boundaries of the various subareas.


Table 2 below compares the projections for 2030 with the projections previously prepared for the 2025 Regional Plan. The 2025 projections were used in the development of the Town’s 2000 Comprehensive Plan. Attachment 5 is a set of maps that compare the differences between the 2025 projections and 2030 projections for Chapel Hill by transportation analysis zone. The data included in Table 2 includes the “corrected” information. Because of some differences in the boundaries of the transportation analysis zones, Town limits and adopted urban services boundaries, the projections are approximate.


Table 2


Chapel Hill Projections


2025 Hsg.

2030 Hsg.

2025 Pop.

2030 Pop.

2025 Emp.

2030 Emp.

Town of Chapel Hill (approx.)







Urban Services Area (approx.)








The Chapel Hill housing, population and employment projections for 2030 are higher than the previously adopted 2025 projections for several reasons.



University of North Carolina


Main Campus


The 2030 projections for the University main campus were based on the University’s Development Plan, approved by the Town, and supplemented with information from the Master Plan, which the Town has reviewed. Using the proposed increases in square footage we developed employment projections using an average number of employees per 1,000 square feet. We project that the area that includes the University main campus employment will increase from 15,150 in 2002 to 23,963 in 2030. This represents an increase of 8,813 employees.


Carolina North


For the University’s Carolina North property we used the information released in December, 2003 by the University (Attachment 6).  Based on the overall development proposal and timetable for development we estimate that approximately 10,600 jobs and 1,080 dwelling units could be located in the Chapel Hill portion of the Carolina North project by 2030. We recognize that the University has not adopted a master plan and the Council has not reviewed any proposal for the proposed Carolina North development. The projections used are the first estimate we can make with so much as yet undetermined. The Council could revise the proposed projections for the Carolina North development as it determines appropriate either now or in the future.


We believe that using the projections for Carolina North, based on the University’s proposed land use plan, would assist the Council in assessing the regional transportation impacts of the project. The 2030 Plan evaluation would also provide an opportunity to evaluate the adequacy of the adopted 2025 Transportation Plan to provide adequate mobility to the Carolina North site.




The Chapel Hill Town Council recommendations and comments will be submitted to the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Transportation Advisory Committee. The Transportation Advisory Committee is expected to approve the 2030 projections on January 14, 2004.




Manager’s Recommendation: Given the limitations stated above we believe that the 2002 base data and 2030 projections represent a reasonable estimate of future growth of the Town. We recommend that the Council approve the use of the “Corrected” 2002 base data and 2030 socio-economic projections (Attachment 7).  We also suggest that the Town use the 2030 projections to update the projections included in the Town’s Comprehensive Plan.


Planning Board (Attachment 8):  The Planning Board recommends that the Council work with the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Urban Area to develop and utilize transportation modeling tools that allow for a detailed evaluation of the impacts of regional growth, including proposals such as Carolina North. These tools should provide for the analysis of air quality impacts.


Comment: We believe that the development of the 2030 Regional Transportation Plan should use the best transportation modeling available to evaluate the impact of future growth and assess alternative solutions to congestion and air quality problems. The Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization has entered into a regional agreement the North Carolina Department of Transportation, Triangle Transit Authority and Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization to jointly develop and upgrade the Triangle Regional Model. This group recently decided to delay the development of enhancements to the Triangle Regional Model and utilize the existing model to develop and analyze the 2030 Regional Transportation Plans. While we understand that the schedule mandated by the federal air quality for approval of an updated Plan limit the regions ability to make significant changes to the regional model, we are concerned that the existing model cannot provide detailed evaluation of alternative modes of transportation, transit, bicycling and walking. We are also concerned that the existing model cannot provide subarea analysis of air quality impacts below the county level. We will work with the Metropolitan Planning Organization to improve the quality of the model.


Transportation Board (Attachment 9):  The Transportation Board recommends that the Council work with the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Urban Area and the University of North Carolina to develop and utilize transportation modeling tools that allow for a detailed evaluation of the impacts of regional growth, including proposals such as Carolina North. These tools should provide for the analysis of air quality impacts.


The Board also recommended that the 2030 projections be provided to the Orange County and Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Districts for their use.


Comment: The Council has not yet decided on a process to evaluate the transportation impacts of the proposed Carolina North project.  We will provide the school districts with copies of the 2030 projections.




  1. Adopted 2030 Transportation Plan Schedule (p. 8).
  2. Section 2, Key Data by Counties (p. 9).
  3. Orange County Thematic Maps (p. 20).
  4. Chapel Hill Summary Tables and Map (p. 41).
  5. Chapel Hill Housing, Population and Employment Maps (p. 43).
  6. Summary of Carolina North Development, News and Observer, December 3, 2003 (p. 46).
  7. Corrected 2003 and 2030 Socio-economic Data (p. 47).
  8. Planning Board Summary of Action (p. 52).
  9. Transportation Board Summary of Action (p. 53).




WHEREAS, the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Urban Area has begun preparation of a 2030 Regional Transportation Plan; and


WHEREAS, the draft Transportation Advisory Committee has prepared draft 2030 Socio-economic projections; and


WHEREAS, the Transportation Advisory Committee has opened a public comment period on these draft Projections; and


WHEREAS, the Council has reviewed the 2030 projections;


NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Town of Chapel Hill that the Council approves the “corrected” 2030 Chapel Hill socio-economic projections for use in the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro 2030 Regional Transportation Plan.


This the 12th day of January, 2004.