Near-Term Action – Promote Vehicle Miles Traveled Reduction

In collaboration with the local jurisdictions, transit operators, and Caltrans, SANDAG is seeking, through the implementation of the Regional Plan, to create a safe, balanced, multimodal transportation system that supports compact and sustainable development and the reduction of vehicle miles traveled (VMT). This effort includes the adoption of a Complete Streets Policy in December 2014 that requires SANDAG to consider complete streets in the planning, development, and implementation of regional transportation projects, and encourages local jurisdictions to consider complete streets as they implement local transportation projects. The Complete Streets Policy also calls for development of a regional database and mapping tool, cost sharing protocols, training opportunities, and monitoring efforts to benchmark progress.

Three key state laws establish policy to guide the region in terms of reducing VMT and promoting smart growth and sustainability principles.

  • California’s Complete Streets Act of 2008 (AB 1358) requires jurisdictions to include Complete Streets policies as part of their general plans as they update their local circulation elements.
  • The Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008 (SB 375) supports the State's climate action goals to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through coordinated transportation and land use planning with the goal of more sustainable communities.
  • SB 743 creates a process to change the way transportation impacts are analyzed under the California Environmental Quality Act to include VMT.

Complete streets are streets that accommodate people of all ages and abilities, traveling by all modes, including walking, biking, using public transit, and driving cars or commercial vehicles. The Regional Complete Streets Policy defines complete streets as it will be used to guide SANDAG in its role as an implementer of regional transportation projects. The policy includes implementation action items to provide the tools, training and procedures necessary to ensure all projects implemented by SANDAG consider local complete streets initiatives and accommodate the needs of all travel modes. SANDAG has established a dedicated website sandag.org/CompleteStreets that provides access to tools and resources to assist the region and local governments in implementing Complete Streets. One of the new tools is a certification form that has been developed for SANDAG project managers and Caltrans Corridor Directors to use when planning new transportation projects to ensure that all modes of travel are considered in the project development process. Since the completion of the most recent update to the certification form, SANDAG staff has worked with regional stakeholders and working groups, the SANDAG Board, and the SANDAG project managers to provide education of how to utilize the checklistform during project implementation. For more information, see the status report on the implementation of the Complete Streets Policy.