Transportation researchers and practitioners have long sought other tools to complement or perhaps replace conventional methods—tools that would better analyze trips rather than speed at points in the system, speak to non-auto modes of travel, address land use solutions as well as highway infrastructure, and so on. Fortunately, new sources of data and emerging methods, as well as new-found interest in performance and scenario planning, are yielding the types of tools that the field needs.
The California legislature last week passed a bill that will remove highway level-of-service and parking from traffic mitigation analyses. The bill applies to projects in many urban and suburban areas. An earlier version of the legislation, SB 731, would have eliminated LOS standards statewide and replaced them with what essentially would have been an impact-fee based on VMT or some other systemic metric. Advocates say the weaker version in SB 743 still covers wide swaths of the state’s most populous areas, and that while it does not require statewide reform, it allows the Office of Planning and Research to accomplish such a change through rule making.