Development of Accessibility Metrics for Senate Bill 150 Program
7/19: The reopened solicitation does NOT include this project.
The primary objective of this project is to build upon existing measures of accessibility to identify, operationalize, and develop regional accessibility metrics to enable CARB staff to produce annual updates to inform the Senate Bill 150 Progress Report to the Legislature on Sustainable Communities Implementation(“Progress Report”). These metrics should measure accessibility to work and non-work destinations, and for auto and non-auto modes of transportation, with an emphasis on priority populations to understand the spatial equity of access. A secondary objective is to gain a preliminary understanding of best practices for improving regional accessibility, particularly for priority populations.
The California legislature passed the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008, Senate Bill (SB) 375, (Chapter 728, Statutes of 2008), as a first-of-its-kind law to recognize the critical role of integrated land use, transportation, and housing decisions in order to meet State climate goals. Integrating land use, transportation, and housing planning shapes residents’ daily lives and can advance other regional goals – to preserve farmland and natural resources for future generations, save families money on housing and transportation, clean the air we breathe, provide opportunities for physical activity, and help people spend less time stuck in traffic and more time at home or play. The SCSs contain long-term actions identified by each region to support these goals. These include policy actions to coordinate housing, jobs, and transportation investments to expand the clean, reliable, and affordable transportation options (i.e., cycling, walking, pooling, and transit) that Californians can access for getting from place to place.
Because SCSs are long-term plans covering multiple decades, a significant amount of effort to date has been spent looking forward and forecasting where California’s regions might be in the future, while less effort has been spent looking back to assess progress. To assure future success, interim assessments must evaluate whether the strategies in the SCSs are being implemented, and how well they are working. With this information, policymakers can better understand if the state is on the right trajectory, and how to adjust course if not. The 2018 Progress Report is the first of a series that CARB will prepare at least every four years to take stock of what progress has occurred under SB 375 to date, pursuant to SB 150 (Allen, Chapter 646, Statutes of 2017). Per the statute, CARB must assess each region’s progress on achieving regional greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. The report must include a description of the changes to greenhouse gas emissions in each region, data-supported metrics for the strategies utilized to meet the targets, as well as the challenges faced by the MPOs in meeting the targets, including the effect of State policies and funding.
Accessibility is a critical metric for measuring land use and a transportation system's performance, which has been studied for decades. However, the availability of several definitions of access as well as technical barriers and data limitations present challenges for using it in the SB150 program.
CARB is particularly seeking to understand accessibility in disadvantaged communities, low-income communities, and low-income households across California (collectively referred to as “priority populations”). More broadly, CARB would like to know how accessibility varies by different socioeconomic factors, such as race, ethnicity, and income.
III. Scope of Work
This project will develop a framework to identify and operationalize relevant performance metric(s) for different aspects of accessibility, to support the goals of SB 375. This project will allow CARB staff to understand and compare varying definitions of access (auto-oriented and alternate modes of transportation, and access to both work and non-work destinations) accounting for the geographic variation (e.g., urban versus suburban versus rural) and examine disparities in access for different populations, particularly priority populations. This project will document how to interpret and communicate the results of accessibility metrics and also identify best practices to integrate accessibility metrics with SCS planning and evaluation.
Task 1 – Assess existing accessibility-related metrics
This project will prioritize accessibility metrics based on the extent to which they closely align with the goals of SB 375 and allow CARB to understand issues of equity related to accessibility. In consultation with CARB staff, the contractor should identify existing approaches, tools, and data sources that are used to measure or evaluate accessibility for work and non-work destinations with an equity lens. This assessment should look into, but may not be limited to, the Smart Location Database, National Walkability Index, CalEnviroScreen, UC Davis's Regional Opportunity Index, displacement and SB 375 indicators research, SB 150 programs, the California Climate Investments program (e.g., priority population maps and any tools relevant to quantifying accessibility), Transportation Disparities Mapping Tool, and more.
The contractor should develop a framework to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of these various accessibility metrics and tools, including data quality, temporal and spatial resolution, ability to measure access by different travel modes and to different destinations, accuracy in different geographies (e.g., urban, suburban, rural), alignment with and functionality for supporting SB 375 and equity goals, and other relevant attributes.
In consultation with CARB staff, this task will result in an interim report that summarizes the assessment of the accessibility-related metrics and data sources. In addition, this report will include caveats and identify the confidence of the outputs for each shortlisted metric.
Task 2 – Develop and analyze accessibility metrics
Based on the assessment in Task 1 and consultation with CARB staff, the contractor should develop an approach to measure access to work and non-work destinations using auto and non-auto modes of transportation at a finer-grain resolution (parcel / block) and at the MPO level. In addition, the approach should allow the contractor and CARB staff to evaluate the disparities in access based on multiple socioeconomic factors (individually and combined) for each metric at the regional level. Depending upon the list of metrics, availability of data, and other related factors, the contractor should develop accessibility metrics for all MPOs or for specific MPOs selected. Moreover, the contractor should provide a user manual, excel template, or a format best suited for CARB staff to reproduce metrics on an annual basis.
The contractor should analyze the data and provide a discussion of the findings. The contractor should explain the patterns of accessibility observed, including with regard to priority populations, geographic variations across MPOs, as well as discuss underlying factors that explain differences between regions with better and worse access. For each metric, this discussion should include important caveats about the data (e.g., that the amenities may differ in quality, that there may be physical barriers preventing access, that there may be geographic variations). The interim report or a separate document including a user manual, excel calculator, or format best suited for CARB staff should then be updated to include the work completed in Task 2.
Task 3 – Identify best practices to integrate accessibility in SCS
Drawing from the review findings in Task 1 and semi-structured interviews with at least five (5) shortlisted MPOs across the US that have dedicated some attention to accessibility-related metrics, the contractor should highlight best practices for measuring accessibility in land use and transportation planning. These recommendations should address specific strategies accounting for priority populations and a range of geographies. Based on consultation with CARB staff, the contractor will finalize the format and documentation of these recommendations.
The project pre-proposal must include but is not limited to the following deliverables:
At Pre-Proposal Stage
- Provide a cultural humility statement in the pre-proposal.
- Additional deliverables or modifications to the above deliverables can be determined by mutual agreement in consultation with CARB staff.
At Beginning of Contract
- All researchers must undergo cultural competency training (examples include implicit bias training, racial equity training, etc.). Trainings should be completed or scheduled within 30 days of contract execution.
- Work with CARB staff at the beginning of the project to create a 1-page plain-language outreach deliverable for the public describing the project’s goals, process, and planned deliverables (available in multiple languages, template will be provided).
During Active Contract Period
- An interim report summarizing the assessment of accessibility-related metrics, data sources, and caveats. The report will document how to implement the calculation approach selected in consultation with CARB staff in a way that allows CARB to update accessibility metrics annually or when updated data is available. Results should be available by MPO and finer grain resolution, for accessibility by auto and non-auto modes, for work and non-work destinations, and for different segments of the population and the public as a whole.
- Informal monthly meetings with the CARB contract manager.
- Quarterly progress meetings in consultation with CARB staff.
Prior to Contract Close
- User manual, excel calculator, or another format best suited for CARB staff to reproduce metrics on an annual basis or when updated data is available. This should include accessibility metrics at the MPO level developed in consultation with CARB staff by considering data availability and other considerations.
- Update to interim report or separate document to (a) synthesize caveats and frame each metric to communicate to the intended audience, including State agencies, MPOs, NGOs, and the public; (b) explain the patterns of accessibility observed, including with regard to priority populations and any other socioeconomic disparities noted, and discuss underlying factors that explain differences between regions, and (c) share regional best practices for tracking and improving accessibility.
It is anticipated this project will be completed in 24 months from the start date. Note that this timeframe is to complete all work, including delivering a user manual/ tool. The last six months are for CARB and other stakeholders to review the draft final report/tool and delivery a revised user manual and associated files to the CARB. The estimated budget for this project is up to $175,000.
The pre-proposal should explain—in adequate detail and clear, understandable language—how the proposed project satisfies the project objectives: enhance CARB’s understanding of accessibility metric; assess existing measures of access; develop metrics to measure access to work and non-work destinations using auto and non-auto modes of transportation, particularly for priority populations at a fine-grain resolution that can be aggregated to the regional level; identify best practices to integrate accessibility in SCS.
- Policy relevance/benefits to the state (10 points)
The pre-proposal should explain how the proposed project is relevant to and provides benefits to the state. Reviewers will assess if the pre-proposal describes how the project will provide data, information, and/or products to CARB, and how those project outputs will help CARB accomplish its mission. Findings from this research will help CARB, other state agencies, local communities, and community-based organizations support ongoing and future efforts to improve accessibility to work and non-work destinations using auto and non-auto modes of transportation, specifically for priority populations. This work supports SB 375, SB 150, and general state efforts to address spatial equity and air quality statewide.
- Work experience and subject matter expertise (20 points)
The pre-proposal should demonstrate that the proposers have the work experience or subject matter expertise required to successfully carry out the proposed project as described. Additionally, the pre-proposal should describe how the project will build upon previous relevant work that was funded by CARB, or other regional, state, and federal agencies. The proposers should have knowledge of accessibility metrics and other transportation progress measures, strategies for advancing accessibility, and techniques for examining and improving transportation systems through an equity lens.
- Expanding expertise (10 points)
The pre-proposal should explain how the project team expands expertise such as by incorporating multidisciplinary expertise or perspectives, including members come from various public universities, non-academic institutions, or community-based organizations, or providing opportunities to build skills and expertise for individuals from underrepresented groups. Reviewers will consider if key personnel contributing significantly to the project (i.e., a principal investigator, co-principal investigator or co-investigator, contributing 25 percent or more of their time to the project) have not worked with CARB in the past five years.
- Explanation of technical or methodological approach (20 points)
The pre-proposal should clearly explain the logic and feasibility of the methodology and technical approach to the project, spell out the sequence and relationships of major tasks, and explain methods for performing the work. The pre-proposal should include a clear description and plan for how each task will be completed. The proposer should specify why the methodology proposed is the best method to reach the desired objectives.
- Level and quality of effort and cost effectiveness (20 points)
The pre-proposal should describe how time and resources will be allocated and demonstrate how this allocation ensures the project’s success. Pre-proposal reviewers will evaluate, for example: if the objectives of the project can be met given this allocation, if there is adequate supervision and oversight to ensure that the project will remain on schedule, if time and cost are appropriately divvied up across different project tasks and stages, etc.