Senate Bill 743
(SB 743, Steinberg, 2013) was signed into law in September 2013 with the intent to better align congestion management with state goals for implementation of infill developments, reduction of green-house gas emissions, and improvement of public health through implementation of active transportation projects. The new law changed the way that the effects of land use projects on the transportation network are analyzed within the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). SB 743 states that traffic congestion shall not be considered to have a significant impact on the environment under CEQA.
The new law required the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) to identify new metrics to evaluate, analyze, and mitigate transportation impacts under CEQA. OPR identified Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) per capita or VMT per employee as the new metrics for analyzing the effects of land use projects on the transportation network. For transportation projects, the lead agency shall have discretion to choose the metric to use that is consistent with CEQA and other planning requirements. In December 2018, the CEQA guidelines were updated to reflect these regulatory changes. OPR released Technical Advisory, December 2018
, guidance that includes recommendations on how to assess VMT, thresholds of significance, and mitigation measures. Statewide implementation of the SB 743 requirements went into effect on July 1st, 2020.
Alameda CTC led and facilitated a Regional Working Group that informed these efforts for the San Francisco Bay Area, and independently provided comments to OPR on draft and final guidelines.