Climate change is a very real and urgent issue around the world, and it’s just as critical locally as we plan for the San Diego region’s transportation system. The 2021 Regional Plan addresses key challenges threatening our environment and quality of life: congestion, social inequality, air pollution, and climate change.
Consider this: 48% of regional greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) come from on-road transportation; 79% of commuters drive alone; only 12% of low-income residents currently live within a half-mile of public transportation. As part of the Regional Plan, we developed the Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) to address these problems by integrating the transportation system with land-use patterns that accommodate our region’s future employment and housing needs while reducing greenhouse gases and protecting sensitive habitats. The SCS is an element of the Regional Plan required by SB 375 and demonstrates how development patterns and the future transportation network, policies, and programs can work together to achieve GHG emission targets for cars and light trucks established by the California Air Resources Board. As the region’s Metropolitan Planning Organization, if we cannot meet targets set through the SCS, we are responsible for developing an Alternative Planning Strategy that demonstrates how the emission targets could be achieved. Most jurisdictions in the San Diego region are working on Climate Action Plans or other strategies to complement the SCS and further reduce emissions.
At SANDAG, we are committed to creating a transportation network that offers fast, frequent, and low-cost transit while expanding zero-emission options for vehicles. We’ll reduce solo driving and congestion by increasing carsharing, vanpooling, and access to mobility hubs - places of connectivity that feature a variety of convenient travel choices, safer streets, and other amenities. We believe expanding personal mobility while reducing transportation’s negative environmental impact will spur an exciting new era of economic opportunity and prosperity for the San Diego region.
Reducing our reliance on the automobile as a primary mode of transportation requires that safe, affordable, and convenient alternatives are available. It also requires that people can access their jobs and other destinations by taking shorter trips. This can be achieved by focusing growth and development in the region’s urbanized areas, where there are existing and planned transportation options.