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As part of California's effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the state has passed a law leading to a radical shift in how it analyzes the traffic impacts of new land use developments and transportation projects. SB 743's goal is to "more appropriately balance the needs of congestion management with statewide goals related to infill development, promotion of public health through active transportation, and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions."

The new measure of transportation impacts will be based on vehicle miles traveled (VMT) instead of level of service (LOS). This ground shift has broad implications for lead agencies, planners, MPOs, and state agencies as they seek to measure and mitigate project-generated, cumulative VMT. The anticipated outcomes are a reduction of GHG emissions, further development of multi-modal transportation networks, and a wide diversity of land uses.

Robert Liberty and Lynn Peterson will share what they have learned working with the largest California metropolitan planning organizations to implement this policy change. They will review findings from a case study project; several legal, political, and technical challenges around implementing the new policy; and the possibilities and opportunities ahead for California, with an eye toward its relevance for Oregon and other states.


Robert Liberty Director, Institute for Sustainable Solutions and Urban Sustainability Accelerator at PSU; former Metro Councilor; and former Executive Director, 1000 Friends of Oregon

Lynn Peterson Transportation consultant; former Secretary of Transportation, Washington State; former Sustainable Communities and Transportation Adviser to Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber; and former Clackamas County Commissioner


Transportation -- California -- Planning, Urban transportation -- Planning, Urban transportation -- Mathematical models


Transportation | Urban Studies and Planning

Persistent Identifier

California's Paradigm Shift from LOS to VMT as a Transportation Impact Metric: Policies, Politics, and Possibilities