Sustainable Communities

This page last updated March 12, 2018

What's New

Cars on a freewayThe Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008 (Sustainable Communities Act, SB 375, Chapter 728, Statutes of 2008) supports the State's climate action goals to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through coordinated transportation and land use planning with the goal of more sustainable communities.

Under the Sustainable Communities Act, ARB sets regional targets for GHG emissions reductions from passenger vehicle use.  In 2010, ARB established these targets for 2020 and 2035 for each region covered by one of the State's metropolitan planning organizations (MPO).  ARB will periodically review and update the targets, as needed.

Each of California's MPOs must prepare a "sustainable communities strategy" (SCS) as an integral part of its regional transportation plan (RTP).  The SCS contains land use, housing, and transportation strategies that, if implemented, would allow the region to meet its GHG emission reduction targets.  Once adopted by the MPO, the RTP/SCS guides the transportation policies and investments for the region.  ARB must review the adopted SCS to confirm and accept the MPO's determination that the SCS, if implemented, would meet the regional GHG targets.  If the combination of measures in the SCS would not meet the regional targets, the MPO must prepare a separate "alternative planning strategy" (APS) to meet the targets. The APS is not a part of the RTP.

The Sustainable Communities Act also establishes incentives to encourage local governments and developers to implement the SCS or the APS. Developers can get relief from certain environmental review requirements under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) if their new residential and mixed-use projects are consistent with a regionals SCS (or APS) that meets the targets (see Cal. Public Resources Code 21155, 21155.1, 21155.2, 21159.28.).

SB 375 Regional Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Target Update Activities

March 2018 Board Meeting

Archived Events

January-Febuary 2018 Public Workshops 
December 2017 Board Meeting 
 October 2017 Staff Report
June 2017 Public Workshops   
March 2017 Public Meetings
2014 Target Update Activities
  • Staff Report on SB 375 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Target Update Process for the October 24, 2014 Board meeting (Oct. 2014) 
  • Comments submitted to ARB staff in response to September 2014 target update process workshops (Oct. 2014)
  • Target Update Process Workshop presentation slides (Sept. 2014) 
  • Preliminary Draft Staff Report on SB 375 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Target Update Process (Aug. 2014)

Sustainable Communities Strategies Review

Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG)
Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC)

  • Fact sheet on the Bay Area's Sustainable Communities Strategy (Aug. 2014) 
  • ARB Executive Order accepting ABAG/MTC's determination that the Final SCS would meet the region's GHG emissions reduction targets (April 2014) 
  • ARB staff's technical evaluation of the ABAG/MTC Final Sustainable Communities Strategy (April 2014) 
  • Informational update on the Association of Bay Area Governments' and Metropolitan Transportation Commission's draft Sustainable Communities Strategy (June 2013)
  • Plan Bay Area, adopted July 2013 
  • ABAG/MTC's technical methodology for quantifying GHG emissions (Nov. 2010)

San Joaquin Valley (SJV) 

  • ARB staff's update on SB 375 implementation in the Valley (July 2014) 
  • ARB staff's update on SB 375 implementation in the Valley (May 2014) 
  • ARB public meeting presentation reporting on SB 375 implementation status (Jan. 2014) 
  • ARB staff's update on SB 375 implementation in the Valley (Jan. 2013)
  • Technical methodology for quantifying GHG emissions for all eight SJV MPOs (Feb. 2014) 

Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG)
2017 RTP/SCS
2013 RTP/SCS

Butte County Association of Governments (BCAG)
2016 RTP/SCS

2012 MTP/SCS

Shasta Regional Transportation Agency (SRTA)

San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG)

Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG)
Tahoe Metropolitan Planning Organization (TMPO) and Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA)

  • ARB staff's technical evaluation of the Tahoe Metropolitan Planning Organization's (TMPO)/Tahoe Regional Planning Agency's (TRPA) Final Sustainable Communities Strategy (Apr. 2013) 
  • ARB Resolution accepting TMPO/TRPA's determination that the Final SCS would meet the region's GHG emissions reduction targets (Apr. 2013) 
  • Mobility 2035, adopted Dec. 2012
  • TMPO/TRPA's technical methodology for quantifying GHG emissions (Oct. 2011)

Key SB 375-Related Documents

Sustainable Communities Initial Target-Setting Activities

ARB Research to Support Sustainable Communities Strategies Implementation

  • ARB supports regional and local implementation of SB 375 through research.  ARB's research program includes investigation of the impacts of land use and transportation strategies on travel behavior, GHG emissions, air pollution exposure, equity, and health.
    • ARB research on policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles to support implementation of the Sustainable Communities Act. 
      • Susan Handy, Ph.D., UC Davis, discussed the research on this set of policies at an October 7, 2014 ARB research seminar.  Video of the seminar, the presentation slides, and other related materials are available here.

Related Information

If you would like more information on ARB activities related to Sustainable Communities: