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SANDAG Sustainable Communities Strategy

Case Story

Summary

The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) is scheduled to finalize a Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) fall of 2011 as part of the 2050 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) in order to comply with California Senate Bill (SB) 375. SANDAG was the first Metropolitan Planning Organization to prepare an RTP that will meet specific statutory requirements to encourage sustainable planning practices.
Program Highlights

  • The SCS demonstrates how development patterns and the transportation network, policies, and programs can work together to achieve greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets for cars and light trucks that have been established by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
  • The San Diego region is required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks 7 percent per capita by 2020 and 13 percent by 2035.
  • The SCS is composed of four building blocks that have served as the underpinning for transportation planning in the San Diego region for many years: Land Use planning, Transportation Network planning, Transportation Demand Management strategies, and Transportation System Management strategies.

Lessons Learned

  • The success of the SCS was in part due to the fact that sustainable planning has long been embraced by the San Diego region.
  • Public support and input was generated through an extensive public outreach pro¬gram which included thousands of residents, academics, community and business leaders, elected officials and representatives from under¬represented groups.
  • Transit usage is more sensitive to parking cost than to transit service levels or fare prices, and the combination of increased transit service and increased parking prices are more effective than either of the two strategies separately.
  • An effective Sustainable Communities Strategy will improve transportation systems and encourage well-planned communities that take advantage of existing infrastructure and transit corridors.

Resources to Learn More

More information on the SCS can be found on the SANDAG website here: www.sandag.org/index.asp?projectid=360&fuseaction=projects.detail

The Rest of the Story

The San Diego region includes 18 cities and an unincorporated area, with total population of just over three million residents. By 2050, however, the population is projected to be over 4 million. According to the 2000 census, when asked how they arrived to/from work, nearly 74 percent of San Diegans said that they drove alone.

SB 375, passed in 2008, assigns each region in the state that is represented by a metropolitan planning organization a greenhouse gas reduction target associated with emissions from cars and light trucks. SB 375 includes the following GHG reduction targets for SANDAG:

  • 2020: 7 percent reduction from 2005 level
  • 2035:13 percent reduction from 2005 level

SANDAG released a Draft RTP and Sustainable Community Strategy on April 22, 2011. The Draft RTP/SCS and associated Draft Environmental Impact Report were available for public comment until June 2011. The revised SCS will be adopted in October 2011.

San Diego is the first region in the state to include a Sustainable Communities Strategy in its Regional Transportation Plan. An effective Sustainable Communities Strategy will improve transportation systems and encourage well-planned communities that take advantage of existing infrastructure and transit corridors.

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