Reporting on the Performance and Usability of Planning Support Systems—Towards a Common Understanding

Haozhi Pan, Brian Deal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To assess the implementation of Planning Support Systems (PSSs) and scenario planning strategies, a common understanding of model goals, performance, and usability are among several issues that need to be addressed. Without a common understanding, resulting policies that are drawn from model outcomes could be compromised. Reporting methods of PSS results should be objective, reasonable, understandable, and useful. We describe a process including several methods of reporting PSS results that allows for minor variation and understandably communicating the results to PSS users. This approach includes finding meaningful resolution and probability matching of PSS model results. We show that our approach is a theoretically reasonable and objective method for reporting PSS results in planning practice. We test our approach using the LEAM PSS in an application in northern Illinois. In this case, our model results inform planners using an easily comprehensible spatial resolution over which the simulation provides useful information for future land-use scenarios. We also apply our reporting methods to compare a preferred scenario to a business-as-usual scenario. The result prompts local planners and stakeholders to rethink their plan implementation strategy for preferred scenario implementation. We conclude that next steps for PSS model development will require both technical and practical focuses in the model reporting and implementation arena.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-159
Number of pages23
JournalApplied Spatial Analysis and Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • Land-use
  • Model performance
  • Planning support systems
  • Scenario planning
  • Spatial analytics
  • Usefulness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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