ULTRANS Aligning Land Use and Tr ansportation Policy and Pr ac tice
OVERVIEW The Urban Land Use and Transportation Center (ULTRANS) at the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS-Davis) is playing a central role in tackling the linked challenges of urban sprawl, vehicle travel, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. ULTRANS is building the forecasting models and advancing the underlying behavioral research needed to design public policies that increase economic viability and improve quality of life. ULTRANS research and outreach enhance land use and transportation policies and decisions by enabling full consideration of environmental, economic, and social equity impacts.
Our mission is to create livable communities with enhanced mobility options by: • Developing and evaluating effective, politically acceptable rules and policies; • Constructing effective tools and models to support new policies and programs; • Educating the next generation of experts and leaders; and • Disseminating research findings and training users of the forecasting models, to assist implementation of policies, rules and models.
WHAT’S NEW? Following on the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32), in 2008 California adopted the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act (SB 375) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions connected with sprawl and vehicle use. Under SB 375, major California cities are required to reduce emissions associated with vehicle use by about 7% per capita in 2020 and 15% in 2035. Other states and the U.S. Congress are exploring similar laws and programs, and the U.S. Department of Transportation has embraced “livability” as a top priority. ULTRANS researchers are developing the knowledge, policy expertise and tools to support these initiatives, and partnering with government to help create more sustainable communities. ULTRANS is playing a central role in informing the GHG reduction target-setting process and strengthening the modeling capacity of local and state governments.
• ULTRANS leaders have been engaged with the California Air Resources Board (CARB), California Transportation Commission, and the SB 375 Regional Targets Advisory Committee (RTAC) to help with the development of policy language, modeling criteria, literature review, and general counsel. Professor Dan Sperling, founder and director, ITSDavis, served as CARB’s designated board liaison to RTAC. • ULTRANS has joined with its UC ITS partners at Berkeley and Irvine to provide support to CARB in Best Management Practices for SB 375 that are effective and scientifically defensible. • ULTRANS is helping to lay the groundwork for California communities undertaking Sustainable Community Strategies. Our team is also deeply engaged with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the regional Councils of Government (COGs).
POLICY ASSESSMENT AND EVALUATION ULTRANS is building an evidence-based set of research tools to support effective climate policy by giving policymakers better information about how cities and regions can tackle climate change efficiently and effectively. Policymakers throughout the nation are considering a wide range of land use and transportation policies, from parking pricing to infill development, with limited information on their effects on reducing vehicle travel and GHG emissions. ULTRANS researchers are producing and disseminating a series of policy briefs summarizing previous and ongoing research results, to make this important information more accessible and useful. ULTRANS researchers are working to more accurately quantify the relationships between land use characteristics and vehicle travel to help cities, counties, and regions develop targeted policies with scarce resources. The particulars of local and regional context play a large role in determining which actions will be most effective, so ULTRANS is creating a spreadsheet tool to allow local policymakers immediate access to the findings