Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environment and Society

Committee Chair(s)

Richard E. Toth


Richard E. Toth


Barty Warren-Kretzschmarr


David Evans


This thesis analyzes the impact the FrontRunner commuter-rail service would have on Southeastern Box Elder County, Utah, using both anticipated future and alternative future scenarios created in a geographic information system (GIS). These alternative future scenarios include having the FrontRunner developed at anticipated stops and a transit-oriented development (TOD) scenario. Using techniques and methods developed by scholars in the bioregional planning field, these alternative future scenarios were compared against impact-data models addressing residential land-use suitability and landscape risk.

Outcomes: from this analysis, the TOD alternative future scenario had the least impact on landscape risk impact-data model. The TOD model is based on short trips between stops within the region, and takes advantage of a diesel car driven train, rather than the engine driven train that is the FrontRunner. Other alternative future models should be developed and tested, including a bus-rapid transit alternative, and scenarios taking into account connections to Cache Valley, Utah. A community survey for development preferences would be beneficial, along with an official rail corridor identified.

Application: working with regional partners, such as the Bear River Association of Governments, planners and local officials can use the approach of this thesis to alter or create new alternative futures as they plan for the future of the region.


This Plan B thesis uses regional planning methodologies that incorporates geographic information systems and remote sensing as key components in regional analyses.