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Regional Transportation Plans and Sustainable Communities Strategies

SRTS Toolkit

Metropolitan planning organizations prepare both regional transportation plans and sustainable communities strategies, both of which are tied together by state law.  Regional transportation plans describe how transportation revenues across the region will be spent over the next 25 years and the sustainable communities strategy explains how a region will integrate land use, housing and transportation planning to meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets set by the California Air Resources Board.

Regional Transportation Plans

In California’s 18 metropolitan areas with populations over 200,000, metropolitan planning organizations are responsible for preparing a regional transportation plan (RTP), which describe how transportation revenues across the region will be spent over the next 20 years (at minimum).  Regional transportation plans must account for all regional transportation revenues, including those from sources that metropolitan planning organizations have no control over such as local transportation sales taxes, transit agency revenues and federal spending on discretionary projects.

Typically, these regional plans are formed by combining transportation plans from local governments.  Since regional transportation plans prioritize transportation infrastructure investments, local improvements must be included in the regional transportation plans to be eligible for state and federal funding.

Sustainable Communities Strategies

Under Senate Bill 375, a state law passed in 2008, metropolitan planning organizations are required to integrate a sustainable communities strategy (SCS) into the regional transportation plan. The sustainable communities strategy should explain how a region will integrate land use, housing and transportation planning to meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets set by the California Air Resources Board. 

Successful implementation of a sustainable communities strategy can create more walkable, efficient communities that save taxpayers money, reduce air pollution, improve public health and shorten commutes as more people can afford to live closer to work and school.

>>>More information on Senate Bill SB 375 available under Documents and Resources on the right.

Example:

Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is promoting active transportation in their 2012 Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy. It is using a “first mile/last mile” approach to encourage transit use, which includes:

  • Developing mobility hubs around transit stations.
  • Improving transit riders’ ability to bring their bicycles onto transit with more racks and the use of folding bicycles.

SCAG is also using a complete streets approach to promote active transportation, especially around schools and transit stations.

 

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