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Published on March 10, 2016

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Report Summary

In 2013, California adopted SB 743, a landmark transportation impact law that holds the promise to rethink how transportation and communities are shaped.

Prior to SB 743, transportation analyses for development projects under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) relied on a metric called “Level of Service” (LOS), which measures the duration of expected vehicle delay. To minimize LOS impacts, projects were incentivized to build more car-related infrastructure, which in turn encourages more driving and higher greenhouse gas emissions.

SB 743 required the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) to offer a replacement to LOS for CEQA purposes, and they proposed Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT).[1] For projects subject to CEQA, this change presents implementation challenges, and also an opportunity to create more balanced transportation systems, while generating fewer costly (and deadly) impacts.

The Complete Streets Task Force, composed of Circulate San Diego, American Planning Association (APA)-San Diego Section, Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE)-San Diego Section, and others, offers the following implementation steps for consideration.