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CEQA Transportation Methodology: Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT)
The state legislature adopted SB 743 in 2013, a measure requiring all California cities to change long-standing methods for analyzing transportation-related impacts of projects as a means of complying the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). As of July 1, 2020, cities will be required to analyze the transportation-related impacts of development projects, land use plans and transportation projects using a metric known as Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT), replacing the former method of analysis of vehicular Level of Service (LOS).
For typical development projects, the shift to VMT will mean a more streamlined development review process with fewer studies and standardized conditions for development projects. For other projects located further away from transit and with high traffic generation potential, the shift to VMT may require supplemental traffic or environmental analysis but will also provide the applicant and the City a more flexible approach to mitigate traffic impacts that may include modifications to project design, transportation demand management strategies, and bike, pedestrian, and transit infrastructure improvements. While impacts vary across the state, the shift to VMT in Long Beach will result in a streamlined development review process, better alignment between new development and planning goals, and more compact and sustainable neighborhoods.