March 27, 2015 Leave a comment
It seems like just yesterday that regions across California were creating their first Sustainable Communities Strategies (2012 to be exact), but here we are several years later, and many are preparing to update them. The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is well underway with the 2016 update to their Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) and SCS, and this post summarizes the latest developments.
About the Sustainable Communities Strategy
The Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008 (Senate Bill 375 for short), requires MPOs to prepare a Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) as part of their long-range Regional Transportation Plans (RTP). The goal of the SCS is to integrate land use, housing and transportation strategies into one overall plan in order to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to target levels set by the California Air Resources Board (ARB). For the SCAG region, these targets are a 8% reduction in GHG emissions by 2020, and a 13% reduction by 2035. These targets will stay the same with the 2016 update. More information about the purpose of the SCS can be found here. SCAG adopted its first SCS in 2012 and it can be found here. SCAG updates its RTP every four years, so the SCS is being updated as part of this process over the next year.
The 2016 RTP/SCS is currently in the scenario planning phase. Staff released the draft scenario planning matrix at the February Technical Working Group meeting. The matrix contains four scenarios: (1) a no build/baseline; (2) the 2012 plan with an updated growth forecast; (3) a Policy A that updates the 2012 plan with greater consideration for active transportation, public health, environmental justice (EJ), technology and millennials; and (4) a Policy B that “pushes the envelope” with a comprehensive “short trip” strategy that maximizes GHG, air quality, livability, public health, EJ and affordability benefits. Policy B also assumes profound technology effects. The scenarios include eight (8) data inputs, including active transportation. There are also eight (8) policy drivers/performance metrics, including equity, public health and environmental justice. A larger version of the matrix is available here. The RTP/SCS is fiscally constrained, meaning all projects must be fully funded in order to be included. Thus, the second or third scenarios are the most likely to be the final scenario included in the RTP/SCS, even if the fourth (Policy B) would go the furthest in achieving the target GHG reductions. Read more of this post