Repurposing Level of Service-Based Fee Structures for Vehicle Miles Travel Reduction

Repurposing Level of Service-Based Fee Structures for Vehicle Miles Travel Reduction

This project responds directly to an identified Caltrans research need for a white paper “that identifies some common level of service (LOS)-based fee structures and analyzes ways that the same structure can be applied to a vehicle miles travel (VMT) reduction program while still meeting the intended congestion reduction goals.” This research need addresses the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 743 in 2013, which, along with implementing guidelines adopted in 2018, eliminated traffic delay, measured using LOS standards, as an environmental impact for consideration under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), substituting instead an assessment of impacts of development projects upon vehicle miles traveled (VMT). The principal investigator for this project is well-positioned to address Caltrans’ solicitation, having conducted survey research in 2019 which included questions about SB 743 implementation. The survey findings indicate that four-fifths of California cities will use both LOS and VMT metrics for CEQA review, and that about the same share of cities will or may alter their development impact fees in response to SB 743. The survey findings will be employed to further investigate and explicate how cities are working to effectively integrate LOS and VMT metrics and standards, so as to meet SB 743 goals and objectives.

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