Sustainable Communities Strategy

By law, the Regional Plan must include a number of elements, one of which is the Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS). Required by state law (SB 375), the primary purpose of the SCS is to show how development patterns and our transportation system will work together to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for cars and light trucks, providing a more sustainable future for our region.

The SCS includes five building blocks:

  • A land use pattern that accommodates our region’s future employment and housing needs, and protects sensitive habitats and resource areas.
  • A transportation network of public transit, Managed Lanes and highways, local streets, bikeways, and walkways built and maintained with reasonably expected funding.
  • Managing demands on our transportation system (also known as Transportation Demand Management, or TDM) in ways that reduce or eliminate traffic congestion during peak periods of demand.
  • Managing our transportation system (also known as Transportation System Management, or TSM) through measures that maximize the overall efficiency of the transportation network.
  • Innovative pricing policies, and other measures designed to reduce the number of miles people travel in their vehicles, as well as traffic congestion during peak periods of demand.

In 2018, the Air Resources Board (ARB) established 19 percent GHG reductions targets for 2035 for each region in California per Senate Bill 375.

Every four years, regions across the nation are required by federal law to update their plans. Using several elements from the current 2015 Regional Plan, the 2020 Federal Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) will serve as our update during this time, while the regional visioning process continues. The 2021 Regional Plan will include an updated SCS that reflects the new regional vision and further encourages sustainable development, including transportation infrastructure that supports our future development patterns and meets our GHG reduction goals.

Our region has come a long way already. The first map in the first linked document below shows the growth patterns that were planned in 1999 – when the region was looking out into the future, plans called for extensive development in the eastern part of the county. Since then, plans have changed. The second map below shows our latest vision for the future as portrayed in the 2015 Regional Plan. In just 14 years, our planned development patterns have shifted significantly – toward more growth in the western and more urbanized areas of our region that are close to our existing and planned transportation network, with more open space and habitat preservation in our eastern and rural areas.