The Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) in California, US, has been awarded US$400,000 to develop a Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) Mitigation Framework that will ultimately help Contra Costa County fight climate change.
The more miles vehicles travel, the more greenhouse gases and air pollution are emitted into the atmosphere. The VMT Mitigation Framework project is aimed to help CCTA better define, analyze, and develop options to mitigate the environmental effects of projects throughout Contra Costa.
With funding made possible through a California Department of Transportation Sustainable Planning Grant, one element of the study will explore allowing developers and transportation agencies, whose projects contribute to VMT increases, to offset emissions through payment into a VMT Mitigation Program.
The VMT Mitigation Program funds could then support green projects that help reduce overall VMT in Contra Costa County, generating a positive impact on climate, the environment and public health.
“This groundbreaking study will set out a framework for a more holistic approach to analyzing future development and transportation projects that will not only help local agencies like ours plan for a more sustainable future but could serve as a model for agencies across the state,” said CCTA Executive Director Timothy Haile.
California Senate Bill 743 (SB 743) reformed the process for the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to require that local jurisdictions evaluate traffic impacts of new development by measuring VMT, so that transportation-related environmental impacts are tracked for alignment with state greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.
Undertaking this study is just one way that CCTA is working to mitigate the impact of vehicles miles traveled to reduce harmful pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions countywide.