An examination of California’s Regional Blueprint Planning Program reveals challenges and accomplishments of the development of statewide and regional GHG reduction plans through integrated land use and transportation strategies – providing an early indicator of those which are likely to surface during SB 375 Sustainable Community Strategies.
In addition to regional planning updates under SB 375, Senate Bill 391 (2009) requires Caltrans to update the California Transportation Plan (CTP) to demonstrate how the State will achieve “maximum feasible emissions reductions” in a manner consistent with AB 32 and Executive Order S-3-05. The first such update of the CTP must be completed by December 31, 2015 with subsequent updates every five years thereafter. Caltrans is also required to engage the Strategic Growth Council, California Air Resources Board, California Transportation Commission, and regional planning/air quality agencies prior to submitting the CTP to the Legislature and Governor for approval. When completed, the updated CTP will include elements addressing policy and recommendations for the Plan’s broad system concepts, strategies, and performance objectives consistent with SB 391, including:
- Mobility and accessibility
- Integration and connectivity
- Efficient system management and operation
- Existing system preservation
- Safety and security
- Economic development, including productivity and efficiency
- Environmental protection and quality of life
The California Interregional Blueprint (CIB) is an effort to synthesize planned interregional highway, transit, rail (including high-speed and intercity rail), goods movement, and other state transportation projects and strategies with a number of regional transportation and land use plans that are adopted by the State’s MPOs. The CIB effort is supported by a package of data and tools now under development that will measure the effect of planned interregional improvements, in light of future regional land use visions, to determine projected outcomes such as GHG emissions. While California is leading the county in such statewide plan and tool developments, significant funding shortfalls and staff capacity needs pose barriers to full integration of the State’s objectives into plans and programs.
The first step in the statewide “Model Development Plan” is the 2010 California Household Travel Survey. This survey is a coordinated effort led by Caltrans with the “Big 4” MPOs (SACOG, SANDAG, MTC/ABAG, and SCAG) as well as the eight MPOs that comprise the San Joaquin Valley. Updating California Household Travel Survey data for input to the various models is an essential step for the development of Sustainable Communities Strategies (SCS) and Alternative Planning Strategies (APS) prepared by the MPOs under SB 375 and SB 391.
Results of the survey will be used to update the statewide database of household socioeconomic and travel behavior information. Obtaining current data is a preliminary task to the development of the Interregional Travel Demand Model (2010), Statewide Freight Model (2012), and Statewide Integrated Interregional Transportation, Land Use and Economic Model or CalSIIM (2012).
The California Integrated Model (CalSIM) will be compatible with the “Big 4” MPO’s integrated regional models, and will provide the ability to project the impact of statewide policies and investments on regions throughout California as well as the interaction of regional policy choices and investments with statewide efforts. The MPO models will be able to correspond with the statewide model, and will each measure the performance of regional projects and statewide policy implications for regional travel behavior.