Land Use and Transportation Planning Research

This page last reviewed October 27, 2016

bike lane photo In 2008, California passed Senate Bill 375 requiring metropolitan planning organizations (MPO) to develop Sustainable Communities Strategies to illustrate how integrated land use, transportation, and housing planning will achieve regional greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. ARBís research program seeks to better understand the impacts of land use and transportation strategies on travel behavior, greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution exposure, equity, and health.

Complete Research Projects

Evaluating the Travel Impacts and Co-benefits of Light Rail Transit This study evaluated the impact of the Expo light rail transit (LRT) line, which began service in south Los Angeles in 2012, on the travel and activity patterns of both long-term residents and those who moved to the area after service began.

The Role of Land Use Planning in Reducing Residential Energy Consumption and GHG Emissions This project created a preliminary spreadsheet-based modeling tool that local governments can use when creating general plans, specific plans, and climate action plans to estimate the GHG emissions due to residential building energy use that will result from accommodating new growth in different land use types.

Quantifying the Effect of Local Government Actions on Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) This project created a simple spreadsheet tool that estimates how VMT elasticities and marginal effects of policy-relevant variables differ across trip purposes, household types, and local contexts.

Active Research Projects

Identifying, Evaluating and Selecting Indicators, Indices and Data for Future Monitoring System of the Implementation of Sustainable Communities Strategies This project will identify, evaluate, and select indices and data sources that can be used to establish a future monitoring system for sustainable communities strategies (SCS) implementation. This monitoring system will help the state evaluate progress toward achieving greenhouse gas emissions reductions through Senate Bill 375.

Identifying Urban Designs and Traffic Management Strategies for Southern California that Reduce Air Pollution Exposure This project will evaluate features that may play a major role in determining pedestrian air pollution exposure and could be modified through local planning and transportation decisions.

Analyzing the Economic Benefits and Costs of Smart Growth Strategies This project is conducting a series of retrospective case studies to explore successful implementation of economically beneficial smart growth policies, along with obstacles to such implementation.

Effects of Complete Streets on Travel Behavior This project is conducting several analyses comparing travel behavior and near-roadway exposure between complete streets and non-complete streets in Southern California.

Modeling Household Vehicle and Transportation Choice and Usage This project will identify the geographic and demographic characteristics of low transportation emission households. It will also model the consumer decision process about when to buy a vehicle, what type to buy, and how much to drive the vehicle.

Displacement and Regional Transportation Planning This project will examine the relationship between transit-oriented development and displacement and the impacts of displacement on travel behavior in California. Partnering with SCAG and MTC/ABAG, this project will advance modeling efforts to better assess the potential for displacement in their Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy, and will assess potential solutions aimed at minimizing displacement impacts.

Effectiveness of Sound Wall-Vegetation Combination Barriers as Near-Roadway Pollutant Mitigation Strategies This project will evaluate the effectiveness of sound and vegetative barriers in dispersing and removing traffic-related pollutants in several basins in California.

Assessing the Travel Demand and Co-Benefit Impacts of Affordable Transit-Oriented Developments Researchers will assess the travel demand and co-benefit impacts of affordable transit oriented developments (TOD) with surveys and GPS data collection at existing affordable housing developments.

Check out ARB's list of all active and completed research projects related to land use and transportation planning.

Related Resources

Climate and Energy Impacts of Automated Vehicles: A white paper that assesses the current and projected progress of automated vehicle technology and explores its potential impact on some of California’s climate programs.

Policy Review Papers: A series of literature reviews evaluating the impact of key land use and transportation strategies on greenhouse gas emission reduction policies for automobiles and light trucks.

Health Impacts of Traffic: An overview of ARB research on the health impacts of traffic on major roadways.

Reducing Traffic Pollution Exposure: A review of the status of research on potential mitigations to reduce exposure to nearby traffic pollution

ARB Air Quality and Land Use Handbook: A general reference guide for evaluating potential air pollution impacts of land use planning decisions

For more information on Land Use and Transportation Planning Research, please contact Maggie Witt at (916) 324-9061.