Regional- and State-Led Strategies to Improve Local Implementation of Sustainable Communities Strategies
- Sustainable Communities & Climate Protection Program
- Sustainable Communities
- Policy & Research Briefs
- Project Solicitation
- Pre-Proposal FAQs
- Assessing the Quantification Methodology for the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program
- Assessment Report and Development of Resources: Local Government Zero-Emission Vehicle Multi-Modal Ecosystem
- California Climate Investments Climate Risk Assessment
- California Housing and Transportation Costs: Impacts and Implications
- Development of Accessibility Metrics for Senate Bill 150 Program
- Equitable Building Decarbonization: Implementation Approaches
- Potential State Roles in Expanding Transfer of Development Rights as a Tool for Greenhouse Gas Reduction
- Regional- and State-Led Strategies to Improve Local Implementation of Sustainable Communities Strategies
- State of the Zero-Emission Vehicle Secondary Market and Accessibility Impacts in California’s Underserved Communities
- Sustainable Transportation and Communities Research Engagement
- Regional Plans & Evaluations
- Regional Plan Targets
- SB 150 Data Dashboard
- Active Transportation
7/19: The reopened solicitation does NOT include this project.
Since local governments hold the primary authority to make land use decisions, alignment between local decision-making and regional Sustainable Communities Strategies (SCS) is essential for the success of Senate Bill (SB) 375. Achieving the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions expected under SB 375 will not be possible without a stronger connection between regional SCS strategies and local plans and projects. The objective of this project is to identify instances of local government actions that were consistent with an applicable SCS, identify strategies that Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) (or others such as the State) have employed to encourage local implementation of SCSs, as well as understand which strategies have been most effective in improving local implementation of SCSs. Based on these findings, this project will provide policy recommendations for actions that the State and MPOs can take to improve alignment between regional plans and local plans and projects.
Recognizing the critical role of integrated transportation, land use, and housing decisions to meet State climate goals, the California Legislature passed the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008, SB 375. SB 375 requires California’s 18 regional MPOs to include an SCS in their long-range regional transportation plans to achieve GHG emissions from passenger vehicles and improve public health, equity, and economic outcomes through integrated transportation, land use, and housing decisions. In the SCS, the MPO, in partnership with their local member agencies and the State, identifies strategies to reduce GHG emissions from driving, which can also foster healthier and more equitable and sustainable communities.
SB 150 tasks the California Air Resources Board (CARB) with preparing a report that assesses progress made toward meeting the regional SB 375 GHG emissions reduction targets, and to include data-supported metrics for strategies utilized to meet the targets. The data provided in CARB’s SB 150 Progress Report suggest that more and accelerated action is critical for public health, equity, economic, and climate success. Namely, vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and GHG per capita trends are moving in the wrong direction with respect to the anticipated performance of SB 375. California has not yet achieved the systemic and structural changes to how we build communities necessary for meeting State climate goals.
A significant shift in the current trajectory is necessary to achieve the upcoming GHG emissions reduction mandates. CARB’s SB 150 Progress Report highlights an important opportunity to partner across agencies, specifically local government staff and elected officials. Local governments have a critical role to play in this capacity, as they hold the primary authority to plan, zone, approve, and permit how and where land is developed. As a result, alignment between regional SCSs and local decision-making is essential for the success of SB 375. Getting back on track requires a stronger connection between local land use decisions and SCS strategies.
An extensive body of research has emerged investigating progress made under SB 375, challenges facing SB 375 implementation, and barriers to alignment between local planning and SCSs. Namely, Boswell et al. (2018), Sciara et al. (2018), and Barbour (2020) have considered how SB 375 has impacted local and regional goal-setting, planning, and decision-making. Deakin et al. (2021) examined MPOs’ role, considering how and whether MPOs are helping achieve State goals for climate protection and sustainability, and compared regional transportation planning and funding programs. Mawhorter et al. (2020) evaluated progress toward implementation of the SCSs under SB 375 and provided recommendations to maximize SB 375’s potential to address California’s climate change management and housing affordability needs. Finally, Sciara (2020) examines the limits on MPOs using information to nudge cities and counties towards smarter growth and aligning land use decisions with an applicable SCS.
This project will build upon prior work and identify opportunities to improve alignment between regional and local plans and implementation.
III. Scope of Work
Task 1 – Literature Review
In Task 1, the contractor will prepare a literature review to summarize relevant academic research regarding:
- Barriers and challenges to local implementation of SCSs pursuant to SB 375; and
- Potential strategies that MPOs can employ to encourage and improve local implementation of SCSs.
Task 2 – Finalize Data Collection Methodology
In Task 2, the contractor will propose a detailed data collection method for identifying:
- Examples of local government actions that aligned with an applicable SCS;
- Examples of programs, strategies, and outreach efforts that MPOs (or other actors such as the State) have employed to encourage local implementation of SCSs;
- The extent to which the example programs, strategies, and outreach efforts were effective in improving alignment between SCSs and local plans or projects.
Include an explanation as to why the method proposed is the best method. In consultation with CARB staff, the contractor will refine the methodology.
Task 3 – Collect Data
Following the development of the data collection methodology in Task 2, the contractor should implement the data collection.
Task 4 – Data Analysis
In Task 4, the contractor will analyze the data collected in Task 3 to understand:
- Types of programs, strategies, or outreach efforts MPOs have employed to encourage local implementation of SCSs;
- Whether instances of local decision-making that aligned with an applicable SCS were influenced by MPO-led programs, strategies, or outreach efforts to encourage local implementation of SCSs;
- Which MPO-led programs, strategies, or outreach efforts have been most effective in improving alignment between SCSs and local plans or projects;
- The extent to which direct coordination between MPOs and local governments has effectively improved alignment between SCSs and local actions; and
- Opportunities for State- or MPO-level efforts to improve alignment between SCSs and local actions.
Task 5 – Policy Recommendations
Based on the results of the data analysis and in consultation with CARB program staff, Task 5 will develop policy recommendations for actions that the State and MPOs can take to encourage local implementation of SCSs. The contractors should focus on recommendations for how existing regulatory or complementary programs intended to increase SCS implementation could be refined to improve coordination with local governments. Additionally, the contractor may suggest the creation of new programs or outreach efforts based on their findings.
Task 6 – Reports
The project will include the preparation of two reports. An interim report shall be completed soon after all data has been collected with a summary of high-level results. The interim report will be presented to CARB staff to help guide further data analysis to ensure that the final report include relevant policy recommendations. The final report will document all methodologies, data analysis, and processes employed in the completion of the research and include a plain-language summary of policy recommendations.
The project pre-proposal must include but is not limited to the following deliverables:
During Active Contract Period
- 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).
- Quarterly Progress Reports including public-facing updates to be posted to CARB’s website
- Quarterly Progress Meetings
- Informal monthly progress update meetings with CARB contract manager
Prior to Contract Close
- Literature review
- Interim report
- Draft final report;
- Final report
- Seminar or alternative (e.g., workshop or community meeting) public presentation of results
- Draft and final 2-page project summary for public outreach;
- All data, analyses and analytical tools generated through the course of this project;
- Peer reviewed publications should be publicly available (please budget for this expense; submission-ready publications shall be reviewed by CARB staff).
Additional deliverables to be determined in consultation with CARB staff.
It is anticipated this project will be completed in 24 months from the start date (sometime in Spring 2023). The estimated budget for this project is up to $300,000.
- Responsiveness to the goals and objectives outlined in the pre-proposal solicitation (20 points)
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 actions, strategies, programs, and outreach that MPOs have employed to encourage local implementation of SCSs; and
- Enhance CARB’s understanding of which MPO-led strategies, programs, and outreach efforts have been most effective in improving local implementation of SCSs; and
- Provide policy recommendations for things that the State and MPOs can do to achieve better alignment between SCSs and local plans or projects.
- 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, MPOs, and local governments support the implementation of SCSs. This work supports existing SB 375 efforts to reduce emissions from passenger vehicles and achieve the public health, equity, and economic benefits of sustainable communities.
- 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, other regional, State, and federal agencies. The proposers should have knowledge of:
- Local jurisdiction and MPO authority;
- SB 375 (objectives and requirements);
- SB 150 (objectives and requirements);
- The current state of progress made under SB 375; and
- An understanding of the common challenges associated with local implementation of regional SCSs as identified from prior research.
- 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.
- 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, and if time and cost are appropriately divvied up across different project tasks and stages.
 California Air Resources Board. (2018). 2018 Progress Report: California’s Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act. November 2018. (https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/sites/default/files/2018-11/Final2018Report_SB15…).