Project Background for the Sustainable Transportation Equity Project (STEP)
STEP's overarching goal is to increase transportation equity in disadvantaged and low-income communities by 1) addressing community residents' transportation needs, 2) increasing access to key destinations and services, and 3) reducing GHG emissions and vehicle miles traveled. STEP funds a combination of different types of clean transportation and supporting projects within a single community. STEP has the flexibility to fund many different types of capital, operations, planning, and capacity building projects to help meet the needs of each community within that community’s context, including new or expanded public transit and shared mobility services; active transportation infrastructure; land use planning and housing policy development; and workforce development, planning, and capacity buildingactivities that support clean transportation and transportation equity.
Increasing transportation equity will create equitable access to social and economic opportunities for traditionally underserved communities. Attaining transportation equity requires considering all components of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, environmental justice principles, and nondiscriminatory practices. Transportation equity will occur when the transportation system addresses unique transportation barriers; shifts decision-making power to the communities the system serves; and improves the quality of life for low-income people, people of color, and residents of communities disproportionately impacted by air pollution or who lack access to housing, jobs, and services.
By funding different types of clean transportation and supporting projects within a single community, STEP facilitates collaboration between community residents, local public agencies, and private partners. This collaboration is critical for creating a cleaner, more accessible, and integrated transportation system that benefits the community residents that need it most. STEP also acknowledges the intersection of climate, transportation, housing, and equity policy, and aims to establish new and strengthen existing partnerships between these policy areas
STEP is particularly focused on supporting projects that have the potential to reduce passenger vehicle miles traveled and that prioritize long-term mode shift toward sustainable mobility and reductions in vehicle miles traveled. Even with improvements in clean vehicle technology and fuels, reducing driving is necessary to meet State climate and air quality commitments. Strategies that reduce driving can also address entrenched inequities experienced by California’s most overburdened low-income and disadvantaged communities.
Guiding Legislation/Policy Drivers
STEP focuses on projects that support sustainable communities, attempting to address some of the complex transportation and land use challenges identified in the Senate Bill 150 Progress Report. STEP incorporates key recommendations from CARB’s Senate Bill 350 Guidance Document, providing the flexibility to fund many different types of clean transportation and supporting projects in a single community to help meet unique needs within that community's context.
Using FY 2019-20 funds, CARB released the first STEP solicitation for $19.5 million on June 4, 2020 and closed the solicitation on August 31, 2020. CARB partnered with the Strategic Growth Council to provide technical assistance on application development to all interested applicants. Applicants submitted 34 proposals (14 Implementation Grant proposals and 20 Planning and Capacity Building Grant proposals), requesting almost $109 million, which was over five times the available funding.
CARB awarded three Implementation Grants, totaling $17.8 million, to the San Joaquin Council of Governments, the City of Commerce, and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT). Based on the remaining funds available, LADOT was only awarded half the funds requested. With an additional $25 million in FY 2021-22, CARB funded the highest scoring unsuccessful applicants from the previous solicitation, including the rest of LADOT’s application and two additional Implementation Grants to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the Oakland Department of Transportation. Through STEP’s Implementation Grants, the selected disadvantaged communities are creating and evaluating new, innovative strategies to address community residents’ transportation needs and increase residents’ access to key destinations and services, while simultaneously reducing GHG emissions and vehicle miles traveled. The suite of components funded in these Implementation Grants includes a wide variety of clean transportation and supporting projects that increase mobility and reduce vehicle miles traveled, such as electric carshare, bikeshare, and shuttle services; public transit subsidies and service expansion; bike lanes and sidewalks; urban forestry; community outreach and education; workforce development projects; and transit-oriented development and displacement avoidance planning—all while centering community needs and decision-making.
CARB also awarded eight Planning and Capacity Building Grants, totaling $1.7 million, to the Oakland Department of Transportation, Circle of Life Development Foundation dba MLKCommUNITY Initiative, Omnitrans, Isla Vista Community Services District, City Heights Community Development Corporation, Anaheim Transportation Network, Solano Transportation Authority, and City of South El Monte. Planning and Capacity Building Grants fund community engagement and community transportation needs assessments necessary to help the selected low-income and disadvantaged communities identify, prioritize, and prepare to implement clean transportation and supporting projects. UC Berkeley’s Othering and Belonging Institute provides implementation support to the Planning and Capacity Building Grantees.
CARB released a new Request for Applications for FY 2022-23 Planning and Capacity Building (Planning), Clean Mobility in Schools (CMIS), and STEP funds on July 24, 2023, which includes $14.85 million for STEP projects. Technical assistance is available through a contract with the Institute for Local Government and partners People for Mobility Justice and Fehr & Peers.
Recent Project/Policy Changes
Planning, CMIS, and STEP 2023 Draft Requirements and Public Process
CARB hosted three public work group meetings between December 2022 and March 2023 to gather public feedback on the design of the current Request for Applications and used input from these meetings to develop a Draft Requirements and Criteria document. The Draft Requirements and Criteria underwent public comment in March 2023 and stakeholder comments from that period were considered when finalizing the Request for Applications.
- Draft Requirements and Criteria
- Public Comment Summary
- Work Group Meeting #1
- Work Group Meeting #2
- Work Group Meeting #3
STEP 2020 Solicitation Documents and Results
- Solicitation Announcement
- Implementation Grant documents/ Documentos de la Subvención para implementación
- Planning and Capacity Building Grant documents/ Documentos de la Subvención para planificación y desarrollo de capacidad
- Summary of Proposals Received
- Press Releases:
- Technical Assistance Reports:
STEP 2020 Proposal Guidance Documents
The resources linked below were intended to help with project and proposal development during STEP's 2020 solicitation. CARB updated these resources for the current Planning and Capacity Building, CMIS, and STEP Request for Applications.