Senate Bill (SB) 743 Vehicle Miles Traveled Policy
Senate Bill 743, Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) Policy
The Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) method is a way of evaluating transportation impacts with metrics that support the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, development of multimodal transportation networks and diversification of land uses. Senate Bill (SB) 743 State law required all local agencies to begin using VMT by July 1, 2020. VMT replaced the previous Level of Service (LOS) method as a metric for assessing transportation impacts of land use and transportation projects.
In 1970, California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA ) legislation was enacted to require state and local agencies to identify the significant environmental impacts of projects and identify measures to avoid or mitigate those impacts. Since that time, most cities, including Campbell, have been evaluating transportation impacts based on intersection Level of Service (LOS). LOS is a qualitative measure of traffic congestion and the ability to maneuver. For signalized intersections, LOS is measured by the average delay experienced by motorists during peak hour traffic.
Vehicle Miles Traveled Evaluation Method
As of July 1, 2020, SB 743 began requiring cities to evaluate transportation impacts with metrics that promote the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the development of multimodal transportation networks, and a diversity of land uses. The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) was tasked with amending the CEQA guidelines to provide an alternative to LOS for evaluating transportation impacts. Upon the completion of its work, OPR identified Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) as the most appropriate metric to evaluate the transportation-related environmental impacts of a development project. VMT measures the total amount of driving attributed to a proposed project. Instead of measuring a projects impact on traffic congestion, it will now measure whether or not a project contributes to other state goals, like reducing greenhouse gas emissions, developing multimodal transportation, preserving open spaces, and promoting diverse land uses and infill development.