Curbing Sprawl and Vehicle Miles Traveled Can Improve Public Health, Quality of Life

Last week, land use experts at the Urban Land Institute (ULI) released “SB 375 Impact Analysis Report;” a report that studies the economic and environmental effects of SB 375, the 2008 law designed to better integrate transportation planning, housing, and the state’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to ULI, “SB 375 has the potential to improve the quality of life for Californians, and is one tool that can address a number of problems long associated with sprawl, including traffic congestion, the cost burden of housing, declining air quality, increases in greenhouse gas emissions, and the geographical imbalance between jobs and housing.”

SB 375 requires the California Air Resources Board to develop greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for cars and light trucks for each of California’s eighteen Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs). Once targets are set, the MPOs must develop a Sustainable Communities Strategy plan to reduce the amount of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in their respective regions. The ULI report states, “The better California does with SB 375 implementation, the greater the benefits will be.”