Research on Land Use and Transportation Planning
California passed Senate Bill 375 in 2008. The law requires that each metropolitan planning organization (MPO) develop a Sustainable Community Strategies to illustrate how integrated land use, transportation, and housing planning will achieve regional greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. The research projects listed below offer insights and solutions for MPOs, local governments, and consumers seeking to reduce car trips and car trip lengths and increase transit use, walking, and biking.
Complete Research Projects
Identifying, Evaluating and Selecting Indicators, Indices and Data for Future Monitoring System of the Implementation of Sustainable Communities Strategies (Contract 15RD010) This project identified, evaluated, and selected data, indicators, and indices that can be used to monitor changes in the urban spatial structure relevant to SB 375. Researchers also prototyped a monitoring system for Los Angeles County and examined metropolitan planning organizations current practices that may be relevant to monitoring short-term changes in land use.
Developing a New Methodology for Analyzing Potential Displacement (Contract 13-310) This project examined the relationship between transit-oriented development and displacement and the impacts of displacement on travel behavior in California. Partnering with SCAG and MTC/ABAG, this project advanced modeling efforts to better assess the potential for displacement in their Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy, and assessed potential solutions aimed at minimizing displacement impacts.
Life Cycle Assessment and Co-benefits of Cool Pavements (Contract 12-314) This project will conduct a life cycle assessment that will evaluate the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions, and impacts on local climate and air quality of traditional and cool pavements. A pavement strategy guidance tool will be created to help local decision-makers as they consider adopting cool pavements in their Climate Action Planning.
Identifying Urban Designs and Traffic Management Strategies for Southern California that Reduce Air Pollution Exposure (Contract 12-308) This project investigated the impact of the built environment on concentrations of roadway pollutants, specifically ultrafine particles. The report emphasizes the configurations that arise around transit, mode shifting and transit-oriented development, and types of development that are needed to move California communities toward improved public health combined with Senate Bill (SB) 375 goals of sustainability.
Evaluating the Travel Impacts and Co-benefits of Light Rail Transit (Contract 12-313) This project evaluated the impact of the Expo light rail transit (LRT) line, which began service in south Los Angeles in 2012, on the travel and activity patterns of both long-term residents and those who moved to the area after service began.
Analyzing the Economic Benefits and Costs of Smart Growth Strategies (Contract 11-326) In this study, researchers analyzed the economic impacts of existing smart growth plans similar to those currently being considered and adopted throughout metropolitan California. Through five case studies of neighborhood-level plans already implemented in California, the effects of smart growth interventions on residential development, commercial development, municipal budgets, and vehicle travel were examined.
Effects of Complete Streets on Travel Behavior (Contract 11-312) This project conducted several analyses comparing travel behavior and near-roadway exposure between complete streets and non-complete streets in Southern California.
Modeling Household Vehicle and Transportation Choice and Usage (Contract 11-322) This project identified the geographic and demographic characteristics of low transportation emission households. It also modeled the consumer decision process about when to buy a vehicle, what type to buy, and how much to drive the vehicle.
Effectiveness of Sound Wall-Vegetation Combination Barriers as Near-Roadway Pollutant Mitigation Strategies (Contract 13-306) This project evaluated the effectiveness of sound and vegetative barriers in dispersing and removing traffic-related pollutants in several basins in California.
The Role of Land Use Planning in Reducing Residential Energy Consumption and GHG Emissions (Contract 10-323) This project created a preliminary spreadsheet-based modeling tool that local governments can use when creating general plans, specific plans, and climate action plans to estimate the GHG emissions due to residential building energy use that will result from accommodating new growth in different land use types.
Quantifying the Effect of Local Government Actions on Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) (Contract 09-343) This project created a simple spreadsheet tool that estimates how VMT elasticities and marginal effects of policy-relevant variables differ across trip purposes, household types, and local contexts.
Active Research Projects
Assessing the Travel Demand and Co-Benefit Impacts of Affordable Transit-Oriented Developments (Contract 16RD003) Researchers will assess the travel demand and co-benefit impacts of affordable transit oriented developments (TOD) with surveys and GPS data collection at existing affordable housing developments.
- Climate and Energy Impacts of Automated Vehicles: A white paper that assesses the current and projected progress of automated vehicle technology and explores its potential impact on some of California’s climate programs.
- Policy Review Papers: A series of literature reviews evaluating the impact of key land use and transportation strategies on greenhouse gas emission reduction policies for automobiles and light trucks.
- Health Impacts of Traffic: An overview of CARB research on the health impacts of traffic on major roadways.
- Reducing Traffic Pollution Exposure: A review of the status of research on potential mitigations to reduce exposure to nearby traffic pollution.
- CARB Air Quality and Land Use Handbook: A general reference guide for evaluating potential air pollution impacts of land use planning decisions.