TE-53 VMT Metrics Application & Analysis for SB 743 Compliance
CreditsThis course grants 1.6 CEUs and 16 AICP CM credits. (AICP CMs pending approval)
DescriptionThe course will examine the origins of changing the transportation metric from level of service (LOS) to vehicle-miles-of-travel (VMT). We will discuss VMT and its relationship to climate change impacts; the legislative history of VMT in California, including Senate Bills (SBs) 375 and 743; and an overview of the new CEQA Guidelines update. We will also discuss means by which local agencies can continue to address the issue of traffic congestion outside of the CEQA process. OPR has selected vehicle-miles-of-travel VMT as the preferred metric to comply with SB 743. The recommended changes to the CEQA Guidelines include a Technical Advisory that provides recommendations about VMT screening, methodology, and thresholds. These recommendations require fundamental changes in current transportation impact analysis practices and have implications for transportation planning as part of general plans and regional transportation plans. This course will explain the technical details of how to address these changes and include detailed step-by-step flow-chart explanations of how to analyze land use projects, transportation projects, land use plans (e.g., general plans), and regional transportation plans under SB 743.
- What is vehicle miles travelled (VMT)?
- VMT and its relationship to greenhouse gas emissions
- The legislative evolution of VMT
- SB 375 - Sustainable Communities Strategy
- SB 743 - mandate to update the CEQA Guidelines
- The CEQA Guidelines
- Role of the Guidelines
- OPR's task to update the CEQA Guidelines
- The underlying philosophy - encourage infill, discourage sprawl
- What the CEQA Guidelines say
- OPR's technical advisory
- Is LOS still a thing?
- Exception for "roadway capacity projects"
- Local development standards to limit congestion take the place of CEQA mitigation
- Local traffic impact ordinances can live on
- Role of VMT in environmental impact analysis versus transportation planning
- VMT estimation and forecasting methods
- Data and models
- Project versus cumulative analysis
- Differences in methods for energy, air quality, GHG, and transportation impacts
- Induced Travel
- Role of the ARB's Mobile Source Strategy in establishing substantial evidence for significance thresholds
- Role of RTPs and general plans in setting significance thresholds
- Mitigation sources, strategies, and limitations
What You Will LearnThis class will provide attendees with a background of CEQA's VMT traffic metric, including an understanding of the origins of the new traffic metric; a discussion of the new CEQA Guidelines provisions on VMT, including an introduction to the OPR technical advisory; and suggestions on how local agencies can adapt so that concerns about congestion and traffic impact fee programs can be addressed outside of CEQA. Students will obtain a rich set of practical information to help them navigate SB 743 compliance. This will include how to estimate and forecast VMT using a variety of methods and what limitations apply; how to relate VMT reduction goals across technical topic areas including energy, air quality, greenhouse gases, and transportation; how to select the form of VMT that is most useful in measuring transportation impacts; how to select appropriate thresholds; and what constitutes substantial evidence to support these decisions.
Who Should AttendThis course is intended for planners, engineers, policy analysts, and CEQA practitioners, among others, in private or public practice who want to understand the technical details associated with SB 743 implementation and the fundamental changes in current transportation impact analysis practices. It will also provide a foundational understanding of the origins and underlying philosophy behind California's new VMT traffic metric.
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