California Policy GHG Reduction Metropolitan Planning NewsFlash Public Transit Publications SB 375

State of California Releases “Vision California” Report, Puts Price on CA’s SB 375

The State of California Strategic Growth Council is releasing the results today of “Vision California,” a study funded in part by the California High-Speed Rail Authority to project the costs and benefits of the growth and transportation decisions that are being made under two scenarios: Business-As-Usual and Growing Smart.  The report does a good job putting a dollar value on land use choices and summarizing the potential effects of policy changes. “Vision California: Charting Our Future,” assesses the economic, energy, health, and land impacts on a population expected to reach 60 million by 2050.

The report finds a per household savings of $6,400/year from automobile and utility costs.  The “Growing Smarter” scenario yields a per household VMT reduction for a 2050 horizon year of 26%  from a 2005 baseline and 30% from the “Business as Usual” scenario.  These results seem consistent with a major “meta-analysis” conducted by the University of Utah’s Metropolitan Research Center’s, which found a range of 20 to 40 percent VMT/capita reduction from compact development based on existing literature ranges.

For a copy of the full report, visit:

California Policy GHG Reduction Metropolitan Planning SB 375

“California MPOs Reveal Results of SB375 Soul-Searching” by Jerry Walters, Fehr & Peers

Policy in Motion Note:

Lauren Michele is also an editor for Fehr and Peers’ climate change blog,, and recently contributed to an article written by Jerry Walters on the SB 375 greenhouse gas target setting process which is currently underway at the California Air Resources Board.  Jerry Walters is the 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 also served as a member of the SB 375 Regional Targets Advisory Committee (RTAC).  The following posting is from CoolConnections and can be found by clicking here.  Observations by RTAC member Jerry Walters, along with his opinions on unresolved issues appear here.


In May, California’s Metropolitan Planning Organizations revealed their self-assessments of their ability to curb climate change.  MPOs representing over 90% of the state’s population went on record with estimates of their “ambitious and achievable” 25-year reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

The announcements followed more than seven months of public outreach and stakeholder discussions, scenario testing and modeling representing the “bottom up process” within the regions to assess their GHG reduction potential.  The process was prescribed by the State’s SB375 Regional Targets Advisory Committee (RTAC) in its September 2009 report California Air Resources Board. The resulting MPO reports will inform the Board’s deliberations on regional GHG targets required under the California’s landmark SB375 climate legislation.

MPOs representing the state’s four major regions Los Angeles (SCAG), San Francisco (MTC), San Diego (SANDAG) and Sacramento (SACOG) submitted a unified report, though the proposed land use and transportation strategies varied from region to region (as shown in the following table), as did each regions’ estimated performance levels.  The MPOs and Regional Transportation Planning Agencies representing Fresno, Kern, Kings, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito, Butte, and Shasta counties also presented target-setting proposals.

Based on information provided for the May 25 RTAC meeting, the MPO land use and transportation scenarios identified as “ambitious but achievable” would reduce GHG per capita in 2020 to between 5% and 11% below 2005 levels.  Each MPO estimated that its region could double those reductions by 2020 through much more aggressive land use, demand management and transportation investment strategies that they deemed very ambitious, but not necessarily achievable.

Ambitious Enough?

The reported scenarios and performance levels provoked a full day’s public comment and discussion by the RTAC.  Observations by RTAC member Jerry Walters, along with his opinions on unresolved issues appear here. Questions include whether the MPO scenarios and GHG reductions are ambitious enough, including:

  • whether assumptions on land use respond to anticipated growth in market demand for compact growth
  • whether roadway pricing assumptions were ambitious enough, given the above-mentioned modest escalation in fuel prices projected over the next 25 years
  • the reasons for worsening jobs/housing balances in several regions
  • differences in the estimated effectiveness of travel demand management (TDM)
  • the lack of information on vehicle miles traveled in the MPO reports
  • the fact that the achievable 2020 reduction percentages for the three largest MPOs were actually higher than projected reductions in 2035

Questions Remain

In addition to the specific questions on the MPO scenario analysis above, several substantial issues remain for ARB to address in its deliberations in the coming months:

  • whether ARB should set a uniform statewide target, as suggested in the September 2009 RTAC findings, or allow that regional variations, matching the individual target proposals submitted last week
  • whether to set target ranges, rather than specific targets, that might allow the MPOs to perform within the ranges between “ambitious” and “achievable” as defined by each MPO
  • the extent to which MPOs and others might perform technical reasonableness checks on the MPO modeling analysis , using information on typical effectiveness of land use and TDM strategies that the University of California has been preparing for ARB
  • how to translate the final SB375 GHG reduction targets  into update goals in the AB 32 Scoping Plan which predicted that the land use and associated changes in transportation emphasis could deliver a 4% reduction in GHG (or 5 million metric tons) relative to 2020 trend-line conditions

ARB workshops and Board hearings on the targets begin on June 24 and through July. For more information, visit:

Federal Policy GHG Reduction Metropolitan Planning

American Power Act Will Create Clean Transportation Options




Senator Carper, Business Leaders, Transportation Advocates Praise New Investments for Clean Transportation Options in Kerry-Lieberman Proposal

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Thomas Carper (D-DE) joined business leaders and Transportation for America, the largest, most diverse coalition working on transportation reform, to support key provisions of the Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act (APA) that creates a new funding stream for investments in clean transportation options that will create jobs and reduce our dangerous dependence on oil.

“If we want to get serious about reducing our dependence on oil and cleaning the air we breathe, we have to find ways to allow people to get out of our cars,” said Senator Thomas Carper (D-DE). “We have to provide clean transportation alternatives.  I practice what I preach by taking the train from my home in Wilmington, Delaware to work in Washington, D.C. almost every day but for too many Americans mass transit isn’t a viable option.  We have to change that dynamic.  That’s why I am pleased Senators Kerry and Lieberman have included my CLEAN TEA legislation in the American Power Act. This robust investment puts us on the right path to reduce transportation emissions and oil consumption and improve our nation’s crumbling transportation infrastructure.  These investments will make us healthier, less dependent on oil, and spur job creation and innovation.”

The proposal from Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT), offers the most substantial support for the transportation sector of any climate and energy legislation to date.  Roughly 70 percent of oil consumed in the U.S. and one third of climate-harming emissions come from the transportation sector.  The APA invests revenues generated from oil refineries in building new clean transportation options and maintaining our existing transportation system.

“America’s oil addiction is a threat to our national security, our economy and our environment,” said James Corless, director of Transportation forAmerica. “The status-quo is unsustainable.  The transportation provisions in the American Power Act will create jobs, spur growth of small businesses and American industry and make it easier and more affordable for Americans to get around.  We strongly support these provisions and believe they should be funded at a higher level to ensure they achieve the greatest possible impact.”

The BP disaster is a devastating reminder that every gallon of oil saved not only benefits the planet, but also s bolsters national security and the economy. The transportation provisions of the bill would provide states and local communities with resources needed to reduce this dependency by providing consumers with safe, clean and affordable options for public transportation, walking and bicycling, as well as better-managed, less congested highways.

“Broward County and thousands of local governments across the country have been embracing the types of transportation strategies included in the American Power Act as a way to improve our economy, increase transportation choices, and create healthier, more sustainable communities, said Kristin Jacobs, County Commissioner, Broward County Florida. “The biggest challenge in implementing our plans, of course, is funding, which is why we’re pleased to see significant resources available through this legislation for states and local communities.”

“These provisions in the American Power Act will support innovations to keep America competitive, create jobs, encourage entrepreneurship and small businesses, and strengthen our economy, in part by expanding the use of ITS technologies to improve transportation system efficiency.  While we applaud the provisions, we believe that all revenues raised from the transportation sector should be reinvested into our nation’s transportation system to create a more financially and environmentally sustainable transportation future.”


COSABETH BULLOCK, 202-478-6128


PAULA CHRIN DIBLEY, 202-478-6138



TRANSPORTATION FOR AMERICA (T4) is the largest, most diverse coalition working on transportation reform today.  Our nation’s transportation network is based on a policy that has not been significantly updated since the 1950’s.  We believe it is time for a bold new vision — transportation that guarantees our freedom to move however we choose and leads to a stronger economy, greater energy security, cleaner environment, and healthier America for all of us.  We’re calling for more responsible investment of our federal tax dollars to create a safer, cleaner, smarter transportation system that works for everyone.