California Policy Education/Webinars GHG Reduction High-Speed Rail Metropolitan Planning NewsFlash SB 375 Transportation Funding

Caltrans Report Released Today with California Interregional Blueprint Summit :: Joined by BT&H, HSR, CTC, CARB, MPO Leaders

With today’s release of the California Interregional Blueprint Draft Interim Report (CIB), hundreds of participants from across the state gathered to hear two of Governor Brown’s most recent appointees as well as other regional and state transportation leaders – echoing the need for innovative funding and strategies to support integrated transportation solutions.

Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty welcomed Acting Secretary Brian Kelly from the Business, Housing and Transportation Agency who opened the event tying the CIB to Senate Bill 375 and how Senate Bill 391 is now bringing the “regional revolution up to the state” by focusing the future on investing in a multimodal transportation system to create better communities while working toward the goals of AB 32.

The first panel discussed new tools, partnerships and integrated approaches to transportation – ranging from new investments in active transportation and transit to freight and system efficiency all working together to create an integrated transportation system. Directors from SANDAG and SCAG were asked to respond to how the state can support regional SB 375 efforts. Reinforcing the positive relationship that has been built between the state and the MPOs, the Directors noted several areas for additional support including:

  • Implementing and funding Sustainable Community Strategies
  • Streamlining project delivery
  • Creating sustainable forms of funding sources
  • Exploring public-private partnerships
  • Funding for the existing transportation system for maintenance and operations
  • Integrating school planning into transportation
  • Supporting high-speed rail with local roads, transit and land use
  • Providing a coordinated voice across state agencies
  • Standardizing simple performance measures statewide for local and regional investments

The second panel was led by Bimla Rhinehart, Executive Director of the California Transportation Commission, with a focus on the next steps for the State given the billions of dollars needed to bring the existing transportation system up to preservation alone. Brian Annis, Deputy Secretary for Business, Housing and Transportation Agency, noted that we can leverage investments in both high-speed rail and other strategies like supporting local transportation by integrating our whole system. Reinforcing the theme of integrated approaches, Tim Schott, Executive Director for the California Association of Port Authorities, recommended a blended funding system for a blended transportation system. Considering key performance measures like location efficiency/land use, social equity, health, and safety for not just motorists but bicyclists and pedestrians was also encouraged. Finally, Dan Richard, Chair of the California High Speed Rail Commission, reinforce the need to integrate high-speed rail into local and regional infrastructure while also explaining the importance of engaging the public and media in “ribbon cutting” for important maintenance and operational improvements on our existing system.

Overall the theme was we must integrate our transportation system to maximize not only greenhouse gas emissions but other important performance measures – and we must think with innovation and leadership to find and leverage new integrated funding sources.


Senate Bill (SB) 391 ushered in a new era for statewide transportation planning in California. Among its many provisions, SB 391 directs Caltrans to prepare a new California Transportation Plan (CTP) by the end of 2015. This 2015 CTP will demonstrate how major metropolitan areas, rural areas, and state agencies can coordinate planning efforts to achieve critical statewide goals such as supporting greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets established pursuant to Assembly Bill (AB) 32 and SB 375.

The California Interregional Blueprint (CIB) is a strategic framework that links statewide transportation goals with regional transportation and land use goals to produce a unified transportation strategy. This CIB Interim Report lays the groundwork for the 2015 CTP by summarizing regional efforts with respect to transportation-related GHG reduction, and the potential influence of these regional efforts on the statewide transportation system.


California Policy Education/Webinars GHG Reduction High-Speed Rail Metropolitan Planning NewsFlash SB 375 State Policy

California Interregional Blueprint Summit May 23 to Host Governor Appointees and Directors: BT&H Acting Secretary Brian Kelly; HSR Chair Dan Richard; Directors of Caltrans, SCAG, SANDAG, CARB

Come see two of Governor Brown’s most recent appointees speak at the California Interregional Blueprint (CIB) Summit: Brian Kelly, Acting Secretary, Business, Housing and Transportation Agency, and Malcolm Dougherty, Director, Caltans.  If you have not registered for the Summit yet, please do so today!  Join us in-person in Sacramento, or on the Web, and help shape California’s future transportation system.

California Interregional Blueprint (CIB) Summit May 23, 2012 8:00 AM – 10:30 AM* CalPERS Auditorium, 400 P Street, Sacramento, CA

Seating is limited so register today at:

Caltrans is sponsoring the CIB Summit to share critical information about the long-term future of California’s transportation system and receive valuable feedback from you.  Take this opportunity to speak with representatives from State agencies, metropolitan planning organizations, regional transportation planning agencies, and the private sector.

Business Transportation and Housing Agency Acting Secretary Brian Kelly will share Governor Brown’s perspective as the Summit’s keyone speaker.

Leaders from key regional and State agencies scheduled to participate in panel discussions are:

  • Gary Gallegos, Executive Director, San Diego Association of Governments
  • Hasan Ikhrata, Executive Director, Southern California Association of Governments
  • James Goldstene, Executive Officer, California Air Resources Board
  • Sharon Scherzinger, Executive Director, El Dorado County Transportation Commission
  • Malcolm Dougherty, Director, Caltrans
  • Dan Richard, Chair, California High Speed Rail Commission
  • Tim Schott, Executive Director, California Association of Port Authorities

Complete details on the Summit and the California Interregional Blueprint process are available on the Caltrans Web Site:

After registering, you’ll receive a confirmation email with directions to the workshop.  If you have questions, email Caroline Leary, Cambridge Systematics, at or call her at 510-873-8700 (voice) or

711 (TTY). If you need physical accommodations or other assistance, please contact Caroline as soon as possible, but no later than two working days before the Summit.

California Policy Education/Webinars GHG Reduction Livable Communities SB 375

Join the Association of Environmental Professionals Conference on May 7 for Policy in Motion’s Panel Presentation

As part of a panel on greenhouse gas emission and vehicle miles traveled reduction strategies, Lauren Michele – Owner/Author of Policy in Motion – will be speaking Monday, May 7th at the 2012 Association of Environmental Professionals Statewide Conference

TDM? TCM? BMP? How Do You Spell VMT Relief?

Organizations use a range of transportation demand management (TDM) strategies, transportation control measures (TCMs) and Best Management Practices (BMPs) to reduce vehicle emissions. The panel will provide an overview of applicable statewide legislation, current research on effective strategies, how to incorporate strategies into CEQA documents, and real world implementation.

More about AEP:

California Policy Livable Communities Metropolitan Planning NewsFlash Sustainability Transportation Funding

SACOG: On Target for GHG Reduction with Adopted 2035 Sustainable Communities Strategies


Metropolitan Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy for 2035

Click here to view the MTP/SCS

The Sacramento Area Council of Governments unanimously approved the Metropolitan Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy for 2035 (MTP/SCS) last week, after more than two years of extensive public input and collaborative technical work with local governments. The MTP/SCS guides how the region spends local, state and federal transportation funds.

“As our region adds nearly 900,000 people by 2035, we need strategic improvements for our existing roads and transit system. Our region has coalesced behind a plan that reduces the time most people will spend in congestion, fixes our roads, and increases access to transit,” said SACOG Board Chair and Rocklin Councilmember Peter Hill.

The MTP/SCS focuses on improving the safety and maintenance of streets and freeways, invests in new options for people to walk, bike or use transit, and connects the transportation planning with land use planning to ensure public dollars are used efficiently.

“This plan expands the options people have for transportation in our communities, whether it’s bike lanes or sidewalks for kids to get to school, new streetcars or light rail to get to work, or safer and better maintained roads to drive on,” said SACOG Transportation Committee and Sacramento City Councilmember Chair Steve Cohn.

“The MTP/SCS builds on the region’s Blueprint, which envisions more housing and transportation choices for our region by 2050,” said SACOG CEO Mike McKeever. “The MTP/SCS provides the infrastructure needed to support the Blueprint influenced land uses in local jurisdictions across the six-county region.” Among the key highlights from the plan:

  • Future congestion per person in the region decreases by 7 percent through 2035 (compared to a projected increase of nearly 60 percent in the MTP adopted a decade ago, in 2002)
  • Over 40 percent increase in transit services per person in 2035 as today.
  • Meets Air Resources Board target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles by 16%
  • Between 1988 and 2005, for every 1,000 new residents, 333 acres of farmland were urbanized. Between 2008 and 2035, for every 1,000 new residents, only 42 acres of farmland will be urbanized.
  • Streamlined environmental review processing at lower costs for a wide variety of projects consistent with the plan.

“This MTP/SCS accelerates opportunities for saving money and accelerating economic development for business in our region,” said SACOG 2011 Board Chair Susan Peters.

The 31-member SACOG Board of Directors is made up of city councilmembers, mayors, and county supervisors from each of the 22 cities and six counties in the region. SACOG is responsible for developing the MTP/SCS every four years in coordination with the cities, counties, transit agencies, air quality management districts, Caltrans, and other public agencies. The plan is required to conform to air quality goals for the region, contain a plan to reduce greenhouse gases from passenger vehicles, demonstrate that all proposed projects can be reasonably funded, undergo extensive public review, and complete a programmatic Environmental Impact Report.

SACOG coordinates transportation planning, funding and project delivery for Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer, Yolo, Sutter and Yuba counties and the cities within them. SACOG also engages elected officials in land use and other regional issues.

Click here to view the MTP/SCS


California Policy Education/Webinars GHG Reduction Livable Communities Mentorship Metropolitan Planning Sustainability

Film Trailer Released for “Policy in Motion: Growing Beautiful Communities” :: August 2012

“People-oriented development” – POD – is about creating communities with access to affordable living near quality jobs, food, schools and health services. We can use the process of POD to foster sustainable communities while at the same time meeting California’s greenhouse gas reduction goals under AB 32 and SB 375. Check out the trailer for Policy in Motion: Growing Beautiful Communities and stay tuned for the August 2012 release of the film!

**Special thanks to filmmaker Jeremy Gray, Senior at the Met Sacramento High School**

California Policy NewsFlash SB 375 State Policy Sustainability

Sustainable California Update :: Conservation Strategy Group Reports on Redevelopment, CEQA & SB 375

Sustainable California Updates – February 12, 2012

In this issue:

Update on Redevelopment

Workshops for Draft CEQA Guidelines for Streamlining Infill

New: Sustainable Communities Learning Network

SB 375 Update: Sustainable Community Strategies

Save the Date: Equity Summit – April 10th

Update on Redevelopment


In June 2011, the state legislature passed two bills that were signed by the Governor to dissolve California’s network of redevelopment agencies.  Just last week, over 400 redevelopment agencies were shut down statewide.


The closing of redevelopment agencies was controversial.  For half a century, cities have relied on redevelopment agencies to revitalize neighborhoods and develop vacant or blighted properties.  In light of the massive budget deficit, the Governor chose to close these agencies down and free up tax revenue they were diverting away from schools, counties, and cities.


As of February 1, 2012, redevelopment agencies are officially dissolved.  Each redevelopment agency appointed a successor agency to pay off all outstanding debt and most chose the city government for this task.  For the next few decades, property tax revenue will go towards paying off debts and eventually will help the state’s bottom line.

Future of Redevelopment

Cities are actively looking for new financing options for redevelopment.  The City of Roseville, for example, developed a nonprofit to promote private financing of projects in the public interest.  Legislators are also looking for ways to promote economic development and affordable housing.  For example, Senate Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg introduced a measure, SB 654, to direct balances in Low and Moderate Income Housing Funds (LMIFH) for use in developing affordable housing. Running parallel to SB 654 is AB 1585, by Assembly Speaker Perez, which also seeks to retain affordable housing funds from LMIHF. Without a definite state solution to redevelopment needs at the moment, communities are now focusing on crafting their own unique solutions.

Upcoming Senate Hearing – February 22

Joint Senate Hearing: “Financing Affordable Housing and Local Economic Development: New Reality, New Opportunity” Capitol Building, Room 4203


Formal testimony will be delivered by Housing California and the California Housing Consortium on the need for permanent ongoing sources of funding for affordable housing particularly given the demise of redevelopment. Representatives from labor, the business community and local government will also provide testimony. Following the speakers, there will be an opportunity for public comment.


Workshops for Draft CEQA Guidelines on Streamlining Infill

The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) has developed a draft proposal for additions to CEQA Guidelines. Under the direction of SB 226 (Simitian, 2011) this proposal intends to set forth a streamlined review process for infill projects.  It also contains the performance standards used to determine an infill project’s eligibility for that streamlined review.


In order to develop an efficient and effective set of guidelines, OPR is depending on public input and engagement. Workshops on the subject will be held in three cities. The meeting in Sacramento will also be webcast.


Sacramento Fresno Los Angeles

February 21, 2012

1:00 pm

February 22, 2012

1:00 pm

February 23, 2012

1:00 pm

Cal/EPA Headquarters Building

Sierra Hearing Room, 2nd Floor

1001 I Street

Sacramento, CA 95814

City of Fresno

Council Chambers, 2nd Floor

2600 Fresno Street

Fresno, CA 93721

Ronald Reagan State Building


300 South Spring Street

Los Angeles, CA 90013


For the full text of the proposed changes, visit:


New: Sustainable Communities Learning Network

The Sustainable Communities Learning Network helps local officials and staff access and share resources and tools that encourage their communities to consider and apply economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable practices. It is a project of the Institute for Local Government in partnership with the Information Center for the Environment at the University of California, Davis with support from the Strategic Growth Council and The California Endowment.


The Learning Network:

  • Facilitates peer-to-peer learning, sharing of real-world examples between local officials and others engaged in sustainability efforts
  • Provides access to best practices, tools, and resources
  • Offers opportunities to be recognized as a leader in sustainability


The Sustainable Communities Learning Network is currently in the development stage.  They envision a user-driven learning platform, with opportunities to connect with experts in various sustainability best practices areas. To stay up-to-date as the Network develops and grows, sign up here for the Sustainability eNews. You can also contact them directly for more information or to tell them what you would like to see as part of the Learning Network.


SB 375 Update: Sustainable Community Strategies

SB 375 (Steinberg, 2008) has called on Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to incorporate Sustainable Community Strategies (SCS) into their Regional Transportation Plans.  SCSs combine land use and transportation strategies to achieve the emissions reduction targets established by the Air Resources Board for each of 18 MPOs.


The progress of several MPOs in developing this plan is described below:

San Diego: San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) was the first agency to adopt a SCS and adopted its plan on October 28, 2011, after two years of work and public input.  On November, 2011, the Cleveland National Forest Foundation and Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit against SANDAG for a producing a flawed plan through a deficient process. According to the plaintiffs, the plan focuses on goals opposite to those of SB375 by placing priority on expanding freeways, encouraging driving, and increasing air pollution. Sierra Club and California’s Attorney General Kamala D. Harris also joined the lawsuit. The 2050 Regional Transportation Plan can be found here.

Sacramento Area Council of Governments: Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) released its Metropolitan Transportation Plan 2035 and draft SCS and is planning to release the final SCS in April this year. The draft is available online to read and submit comments.

Southern California: Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) has released a draft SCS and is holding public hearings on the current plan.  SCAG is planning to release its final draft in April. To attend workshops on the SCS or to read the draft plan, visit the SCAG website.

Bay Area: Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) has released alternative scenarios and is holding public workshops to determine how to reach the 2035 target for GHG emissions. ABAG launched a campaign in 2010 called “One Bay Area” to achieve sustainable community and climate action initiatives. The land-use and transportation plan is called Plan Bay Area and the final SCS is expected in Spring 2013.


Tahoe: Tahoe is a unique, bi-state region developing its SCS as a component of its long-range general plan. The Tahoe MPO is updating its Regional Transportation Plan to incorporate the SCS with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s (TRPA) regional plan update.  The new plan will be called Mobility 2035, and information on progress can be found here. The public draft will be released this month and the final draft will be released in August 2012.


Save the Date: Equity Summit – April 10th

Building on the momentum of Equity Summit 2011 in Detroit, the Sacramento Coalition on Regional Equity (CORE) (a project of the Sacramento Housing Alliance) and its partners are organizing a day-long equity summit where equity advocates from across the state will strategize to move forward an equity agenda for the state of California and its diverse regions.


Get more information or register here.



Sustainable California


Conservation Strategy Group manages Sustainable California as a forum for organizations and agencies to share information and identify opportunities for individuals and organizations to engage in urban sustainability policy development and funding programs, focusing on activities in California.

Conservation Strategy Group provides email updates on what’s happening at the Capitol and identifies opportunities to take action in support of urban sustainability. We have also established an online resource through which information could be shared.  Our hope is that the network would evolve over time so that participating organizations would also share information with each other.

This service is free and provided by Conservation Strategy Group.  For questions or comments, please contact Connie Gallippi at


California Policy Education/Webinars GHG Reduction Livable Communities Mentorship NewsFlash Public Health Publications Research Safe Routes to School SB 375

Interns in Motion :: Seeking Graduate Student for Spring Mentorship Program – Become a “POD” Leader!

You’re doing a good service to the field by helping them get established.  We need energetic blood!

— Office of the Secretary, United States Department of Transportation

Policy in Motion’s “Career Development” Mentorship Program is designed to mentor youth, college students and emerging professionals with an interest in public policy and sustainability planning into careers in transportation or urban planning. The program leverages Sacramento as a learning ground by engaging Mentees in the firm’s current local/state/federal policy research and transportation planning projects. It is designed as a work exchange where students provide project and research support for hands-on learning in business development and policy implementation,  as well as personal mentorship into career networks around California’s Capitol. Aligning with Policy in Motion’s vision for fostering the growth of “PODs” — people-oriented development — this program seeks to mentor budding leaders in the field of sustainable transportation planning and policy.


Jeremy Gray is a senior at the Met Sacramento High School.  With the Met, he has worked at several internship sites which have shaped his interest in film making.  He collaborated with teens and made a documentary on state health insurance through the state organization California Voices.  He was the boom microphone operator on the set of A Cure for the Dead, a miniseries from Misfire Productions.  During the summer of 2011, Jeremy worked on an entry for the Sacramento Film and Music Festival’s 10 x 10 Film Festival.  He co-created the film with Noah Damiani, winner of the festival’s Emerging Filmmaker award.  Currently, Jeremy is starting a youth-run bicycle collective at the Met as his Senior Thesis Project.  As Policy in Motion’s Media Intern, he will be applying his filmmaking skills and interest in sustainable communities towards creating a Policy in Motion Documentary to be released August 10, 2012.


EVELYN :: Local Planning Intern

Evelyn Garcia is currently a senior at UC Davis majoring in Community and Regional Development and minoring in Education.  Evelyn served on advisory board as a liaison for Redwood City’s downtown revitalization efforts and worked closely with City government officials in hopes of bridging the gap between youth and adults in the community.  She mentors independent studies high school students in Sacramento in pursuing higher education and preparing for college admissions through a UC Davis organization called Success Through Educational Mentoring (S.T.E.M.) She is actively involved in her Latina community in promoting professional and educational development while also promoting the advancement of Latinas in higher education to young middle school and high school girls all over the Davis, Woodland, and Sacramento area.  Through Policy in Motion she hopes to gain proper guidance and skills in order to develop her interests within community development and urban planning. As a Local Planning Intern for Policy in Motion she provided support for the Solano County Transportation for Livable Communities Plan Update which focuses on the relationship between transportation and land use through the promotion of smart growth development and sustainable transportation projects in Solano County.


AMANDA :: Policy Research Intern

Amanda Bradshaw is currently completing a dual-degree in Latin American studies and urban planning at Columbia University in New York City.  She received a B.A. in economics and a B.A. in international development studies from the University of California, Berkeley. During her undergraduate career, she served as a research assistant for a U.S. Economic Development Administration-sponsored study which assessed labor markets within California’s green economy, as well as a study conducted by the Transportation Sustainability Research Center. As a graduate student, Amanda’s research interests include environmental and transportation planning, especially as they pertain to North and South America. In January 2012 she will begin conducting research in Brazil for her thesis which focuses on Brazilian environmental governance and urban reform. As a Policy Research Intern at Policy in Motion during Summer 2011, Amanda provided research support for the a Caltrans statewide planning project – California Interregional Blueprint – focusing on the implementation of AB 32, SB 375, and SB 391.  Additionally, she provided significant editing contributions to Lauren Michele’s new book, “Policy in Motion: Transportation Planning in California after AB 32.” Amanda is currently completing her M.S. research in São Paulo, Brazil where she is comparing the state environmental policy approaches taken in California and São Paulo — Amanda expresses that her Policy in Motion internship has been the most impressive component to her resume reviewers.

MINDY :: Green Business Intern

Melinda (Mindy) Bacharach is a recent graduate from the University of California, Davis with a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning. During her time at UC Davis, Mindy studied abroad in Cambridge England and participated in the University of California DC internship program where she interned at Governor Schwarzenegger’s Washington DC Office. She is now looking forward to a new chapter in life where she will utilize her college experiences and education to pursue a career in environmental policy. It is her goal to attend business school in the future with an environmental policy emphasis. As Policy in Motion’s Green Business Intern over Summer 2011, Mindy learned about the financial and structural operations of a small business through her involvement in the Solano County Transportation for Livable Communities Plan Update overseen by the firm’s principal/owner, Lauren Michele.  Mindy is now working for the California Department of Transportation Headquarters as a Transportation Planner for the Division of Transportation System Information in the Office of Data Analysis and GIS — she was told that her Policy in Motion recommendation review during the interview process was a critical component in the decision to hire her.


California Policy Education/Webinars GHG Reduction Metropolitan Planning SB 375

UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies to Host Former Graduate Student Lauren Michele for Winter Seminar





Time: February 10,2012 , 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

Location: 1065 Kemper Hall, UC Davis

Speaker:  Ms. Lauren Michele, Principal/Founder of Policy in Motion

Title: Policy in Motion: Transportation Planning in California after AB 32

Follow these steps to view a seminar remotely live:

  • On Friday at 1:30 p.m., log into this web site
  • The login window will appear. Select Enter as a Guest.
  • Enter your name and Enter Room.
  • Wait a few moments to be accepted into the meeting room. Your name will appear as a guest as long as you are logged into the seminar.


Abstract: While state and federal actions have been taken to set new requirements for vehicle efficiency and fuels, tackling travel behavior policies that reduce vehicle-miles-traveled and improve transportation network management is needed if California is to reduce its transportation sector’s 38 percent contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. California’s unique democracy and global economy is unparallel to any other union. The State is setting new policy directions for sustainable living through transportation planning, but outdated regulatory frameworks must be aligned with supporting paradigm shifts if California is to move forward in a truly unified vision for people-oriented development and transportation. In a time where both state and federal efforts are pointing toward sustainable planning, Lauren Michele covers five key topics that are necessary for policymakers and practitioners to understand in order to implement sustainable transportation solutions at all levels of government:

  • The Four Circles of GHG Reduction Strategies from Travel Behavior:
    categorizes the existing literature on GHG reduction ranges from land use and transportation strategies into four major themes
  • Planning Theory and Frameworks in California: analyzes how environmental review frameworks, funding structures, and the land use/ transportation planning process work at the local, regional, state, and federal levels
  • Implementing SACOG’s Blueprint and Metropolitan Transportation Plan: reveals what aspects of California government need policy reform in order to successfully implement SB 375’s ”Sustainable Communities Strategies” through an analysis of SACOG’s Blueprint process, successes, and challenges
  • Recommendations for New Policy Frameworks in California: contains suggestions for statute changes, agency actions, and framework reforms that support AB 32, SB 375, AB 857, and SB 391 objectives
  • Creating a Federal Framework for Integrated Planning: provides recommended language for evolving federal climate/energy bills and the transportation reauthorization to support GHG reduction through the planning process

Biographical Sketch: Since the passage of California’s Global Warming Solutions Act in 2006 (AB 32), Lauren Michele – Principal/Owner/Author of Policy in Motion, has worked with government agencies and varied stakeholders from the local to federal level on crafting and implementing transportation plans and regulatory frameworks which work toward community sustainability and people-oriented development. A graduate of ITS-Davis and analyst with the Institute’s Urban Land Use and Transportation Center, Ms. Michele’s background extends from working as a local transportation planner in California’s capital city to a federal climate policy analyst in Washington D.C. Her research and strategic analyses have been shared with the Federal Highway Administration; State of California Department of Transportation, Air Resources Board, Energy Commission, Strategic Growth Council, Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, Assembly and Senate; as well as regional and local transportation planning agencies developing integrated land use and transportation sustainability plans pursuant to Senate Bill 375 (Steinberg, 2008). Her recent book, ‘Policy in Motion: Transportation Planning in California after AB 32 was released on August 10th of 2011, including a foreword by Dr. Daniel Sperling. ”This book examines California’s transportation planning initiatives since AB 32, with a nuanced eye toward the State’s particular rules, laws, politics, and institutions. Lauren Michele provides insights and lessons for policymakers and practitioners-in California and elsewhere-as they strive to create more sustainable communities and transportation systems.”– Dr. Daniel Sperling; Director/Professor, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.



California Policy Livable Communities Metropolitan Planning Modeling/Tools NewsFlash SB 375 Sustainability

Policy in Motion and Fehr & Peers Submit Joint Comment Letter on Strategic Growth Council’s Strategic Plan

January 3, 2012

Chairman Ken Alex

Strategic Growth Council

1400 Tenth Street

Sacramento, CA  95814


Re:  Comments on the Strategic Growth Council’s Strategic Plan

Dear Chairman Alex and Members of the Council:

Policy in Motion and Fehr and Peers would like to recognize and appreciate the efforts of the strategic planning process undertaken by the Strategic Growth Council.  The draft Strategic Plan reflects a statewide shift toward planning and crafting policies which support sustainable communities in California.  As firms whose mission is to improve and grow efficient, prosperous and beautiful communities, the Principals of Policy in Motion and Fehr & Peers offer encouragement that the draft Plan support the Council’s priorities as stated in SB 732 (2008) and AB 857 (2001).

“Quality of Life” has become a key principle at federal, state, regional and local levels of government; however, efforts to define and measure “livability” are still highly variable and the need for performance based planning frameworks in conjunction with developing consistent quantification tools and modeling to capture policy impacts across the economic, environmental and equitable aspects of sustainability planning is greatly needed.  Additionally, the possible MAP-21 federal redesignation of Metropolitan Planning Organization size from 50,000 to 200,000 would greatly increase the need for resources and guidance on performance based and cost-effective infrastructure planning among California’s smaller MPOs – given the redesignation would impact 10 of California’s 18 MPOs which would no longer be subject to SB 375 (2008).  These regions would include four of the eight San Joaquin Valley MPOs, and the regions of Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Shasta, Butte and Tahoe.

In light of the limited staff resources and diversity of important issues facing the Council, Policy in Motion and Fehr & Peers would like to recommend focus the draft Strategic Plan on initiatives which are cross-cutting and supportive in sustainability objectives by leveraging recent State investments with staff and technical resources across agencies and stakeholder groups.  Please consider the following comments pertaining to the development of the Five-Year Infrastructure Plan and coordinated investment strategies:

Strategy 1.4: Promote incorporation of SB 732’s objectives into the state’s Five-Year Infrastructure Plan.

“A work group created by the Executive Director and Key Staff will. . . make recommendations on how planning priorities and sustainability objectives can be more fully integrated into the development of the Five-Year Infrastructure Plan administered by the Department of Finance. Council Members will provide leadership to encourage their agencies’ cooperation, and may request an assessment of how infrastructure investments within their agencies and departments support state planning priorities.”

  • The Council and member agency involvement in developing the Five-Year Infrastructure Plan should include a transportation element oriented toward the implementation of the short term elements of the California Transportation Plan and coordinated across member agencies to integrate water, energy, public health, and other related infrastructure.
  • In facilitating the process for the Five-Year Infrastructure Plan and long range planning objectives under SB375, the Council should provide guidance, support and capacity building for MPOs and RTPAs on tools and resources, including the California Statewide Integrated Model (CalSIM) and other consistent tools for use across regions in Regional Transportation Plan development and evaluation.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.  We look forward to working with you as the Council works toward adoption of a final Strategic Plan.




Lauren Michele


Policy in Motion


Gerard Walters

Principal, Chief Technical Officer



Jerry Walters is Fehr & Peers Chief Technical Officer and leader of the firm’s Cool Connections initiative on transportation strategies for sustainable climate, energy and health.  He has over thirty years experience in transportation planning and engineering, and has participated on committees responsible for defining best practices for integrated land use, transportation and climate change methods for the California Transportation Commission, Air Resources Board, Department of Housing and Community Development, Caltrans, and the American Public Transit Association.  He has also directed development of project evaluation methods and metrics for the US EPA and the Institute of Transportation Engineers.  Mr. Walters is a co-author of the 2008 book Growing Cooler – the Evidence on Urban Development and Climate Change published by the ULI. He also led development of smart growth travel analysis methods for Sacramento Regional Blueprint study, San Joaquin Valley Growth Response study, and smart growth planning for the San Diego and San Luis Obispo regions, and sustainable development plan throughout the US.

Lauren Michele is the Principal and Founder of Policy in Motion, a Woman/ Disadvantaged Business Enterprise highlighting how transportation policy impacts community sustainability and “people-oriented development” — access to affordable living near quality jobs, food, schools and health services through livability planning.  Ms. Michele’s combined knowledge as a practicing transportation planning consultant, climate policy analyst, and University of California researcher has given her a foundation to build a business and author a book connecting federal and state legislative priorities with local and regional implementation.  She has worked on issues from local transportation planning to federal climate policy. Her recent book, Policy in Motion: Transportation Planning in California after AB 32 was released August 10, 2011.

“People-oriented development is a concept that goes beyond traditional planning concepts of promoting high density development near transit stations; rather, POD focuses on what makes people happy and how to offer existing neighborhoods job growth, community schools, places of gathering, quality travel, resource management, and housing diversity.  In a state that drives 800 million miles a day and spends ten percent of household income on cars, planning for PODs today will blossom beautiful communities tomorrow.”

– Policy in Motion: Transportation Planning in California after AB 32




California Policy Livable Communities Local Government State Policy Sustainability

Wishing You a Happy New Year from Policy in Motion!

A Gift for You!

What if the joy of the holiday season extended throughout the year and laid the foundation for community sustainability policy and planning? “Quality of Life” is a recent concept in the land use/ transportation/ environmental planning profession to depict how the creation of sustainable communities fosters individual “livability” — or happiness.  In an attempt to translate the abstract concept of “Livability Planning,” Lauren Michele has combined her graduate research on greenhouse gas reduction strategies and travel behavior policy with a vision for “People-Oriented Development” (POD) in the launch of a business and book — Policy in Motion.

Since the launch of my book in August, I have shared my technical research and “POD” vision with over 350 University students, emerging professionals, and leading experts — as well as over two dozen policy makers from the California Governor’s Office and State Legislature — all interested in more integrated sustainability planning at the local, regional and state levels of government.  Additionally, the book has been made available in the libraries of the State of California’s Department of Transportation, Energy Commission, and Air Resources Board for employees.

Policy in Motion is now certified as an Underutilized Disadvantaged Business Enterprisein the states of California and Nevada, and is seeking new partnership and creative opportunities with other private and public organizations across the Western United States and in Washington D.C.  Policy in Motion will also be expanding its Career Development Mentorship Program (Interns in Motion) in 2012 to include motivated high school students from downtown Sacramento to work together with undergraduate and graduate University student interns — to achieve this vision the organization is seeking shared office space opportunities.

“People-oriented development is a concept that goes beyond traditional planning concepts of promoting high density development near transit stations; rather, POD focuses on what makes people happy and how to offer existing neighborhoods job growth, community schools, places of gathering, quality travel, resource management, and housing diversity.  In a state that drives 800 million miles a day and spends ten percent of household income on cars, planning for PODs today will blossom beautiful communities tomorrow”
— Policy in Motion: Transportation Planning in California after AB 32

Download a free book sample of Policy in Motion’s highlights and have a beautiful holiday season! And don’t forget to check out the Policy in Motion Blog for the latest on all the planning acronyms to keep up with everything from performance based planning in MAP-21, LEED-ND, STARS; to webinars / events with APA, ULI, ASLA, SGC; for the scoop on regional/statewide planning under SB 375, SCS, RTP, CIB, HSR; and all the research / grant resource opportunities in between!

~  Lauren Michele  ~

Woman Business Owner & Author
530.848.4342 │
Growing Beautiful Communities at