Developed in accordance with California Senate Bill 375 (SB 375), the Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) is a new element of the 2050 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). The legislation requires Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) to prepare a SCS as part of their RTPs, along with the traditional policy, action, and financial requirements.
After more than two years of extensive public input, the SANDAG Board of Directors adopted the final RTP with a SCS on October 28, 2011, making it the first agency in California to do so.
The SCS lays out how the region will meet greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets set by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). CARB’s targets call for the region to reduce per capita emissions seven percent by 2020 and 13 percent by 2035 from a 2005 baseline. There are no mandated targets beyond 2035.
Developing the SCSUnder SB 375, which went into effect in 2009, a SCS must demonstrate how development patterns and transportation network, policies, and programs can work together to achieve greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for cars and light trucks, if there is a feasible way to do so. If a MPO cannot meet the targets through a SCS, then the region is required to develop an alternative planning strategy that demonstrates how targets could be achieved.
In essence, the SCS includes four building blocks:
- A land use compenent that accommodates the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) and includes the protection of sensitive resources, including areas protected under habitat conservation plans;
- Transportation networks including highways, transit, and local streets and roads;
- Transportation demand management strategies; and
- Transportation system management programs and policies.