Senate Bill (SB) 743 Implementation

What is Senate Bill (SB) 743?

California Senate Bill (SB) 743 was signed in 2013, which changed the way transportation impacts are analyzed under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). As directed by SB 743, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) prepared amendments to the CEQA guidelines rejecting Level of Service (LOS), which measures traffic delay at intersections or roadway segments, and endorsing vehicle miles traveled (VMT), which measures the amount of distance people traveled to a destination.


Why do we have to do it?

State guidelines require all lead agencies to use VMT as the metric and establish VMT thresholds of significance (the level of effect above which lead agencies will consider environmental impacts to be significant) for CEQA transportation analyses by July 1, 2020.


What is the city doing?

The City of Palo Alto staff expect to bring to the City Council VMT thresholds of significance to adopt by July 1, 2020.

An SB 743 Implementation Council Study Session was held on Monday, May 18, 2020 to introduce the anticipated changes  for CEQA transportation analyses. The staff report is available here: https://tinyurl.com/SB-743-Study-Session.

City of Palo Alto Council adoption of VMT thresholds of significance will be held on June 15, 2020. Please visit the City Council Agendas website (https://tinyurl.com/City-Council-Agenda)  for potential updates to the Council Meeting. The staff report is available here: https://tinyurl.com/SB-743-Council-Adoption


Additional information:

SB 743 Bill Text:
http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140SB743

California Air Resources Board CEQA Resources: 
https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/our-work/programs/community-air-protection-program-resource-center/strategy-development/ceqa

Governor’s Office of Planning and Research Technical Advisory:
http://opr.ca.gov/docs/20190122-743_Technical_Advisory.pdf

Introduction Videos:

Problems with Level of Service (LOS): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tM3rdWOkbwA
Benefits of Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpOsLf1i_7k
Methods for Land Use Projects: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wpPdRzROUI
Full Counting of VMT: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHwLDU15T4U