In September 2013 the State adopted SB 743 which changes the way traffic impact analysis of new development and transportation projects will occur through the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). In the past, traffic analysis in CEQA documents was based on the level of congestion (delay) at intersections or street segments. This analysis utilized Level of Service (LOS) standards to determine when added congestion would trigger a significant level of impact requiring mitigation. The City established its own LOS standards in the General Plan which set a threshold for CEQA evaluations.
The change in state law will change the standard for traffic analysis from Level of Service to evaluation of Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT). This change in CEQA analysis will become effective in 2019.
This White Paper explores the pending changes to CEQA traffic analysis and its potential implications for suburban locales like Novato. The paper also discusses options for establishing local thresholds of significance for assessing the impacts of VMT generated by new development and transportation projects in CEQA analysis.
The Evolution of Transportation Impact Analysis White Paper