On behalf of the California Strategic Growth Council, Mintier Harnish led a multi-disciplinary team in a comprehensive evaluation of the Regional Transportation Plan Sustainable Community Strategies (RTP/SCS) prepared by the state’s 18 Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs). Since the State Legislature passed the Sustainable Communities and Climate Projection Act (SB 375, 2008), several MPOs have prepared and adopted their first RTP/SCS, and several others are in process. Pursuant to SB 375, the state’s 18 MPOs must now more formally integrate land use, housing, and mobility within the regional transportation planning process to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote resource conservation. As with any significant change or addition to a well-established process, the first round of SCS development has not been without its challenges. At the same time there have been successes and creative new methods developed to prepare land use and transportation scenarios, allocate regional housing needs, conduct travel modeling analysis, prepare visionary plans and policies, conduct public outreach, and analyze the RTP/SCS as part of an environmental impact report.

As part of this project, we met with the state’s 18 MPOs and facilitated a self-assessment of their RTP/SCS processes; documented and evaluated the first round of SCSs; and recommended approaches and strategies to help MPOs improve their collaboration, lower costs, track implementation progress, and improve State support. A key part of this project included working with the state’s 18 MPOs to come to a common understanding of what was learned during the first round of RTP/SCSs; what worked and what needs to be improved; and how the RTP/SCS, RHNA, EIR processes should proceed during subsequent RTP/SCS cycles. The results of this process were summarized in a report that highlights lessons learned and best practices from the first round of RTP/SCSs, suggests solutions to identified issues and challenges, and recommends strategies to improve future RTP/SCS process and outcome. We were joined in this effort by Kittelson & Associates and Rincon Consultants. (Photo Credit: La Citta Vita on Flikr)