Travel Model and Impact Analysis

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NEW! Travel Demand Forecast Model

In an age where mobility – that is, all the ways we get around and through Culver City – is quickly evolving, it’s vital that the City of Culver City has the right tools to adapt as the city changes. A Traffic Demand Forecast Model is a computer program that simulates the amount of traffic levels and travel patterns for current and future conditions. This model will help the City understand how citywide programs and plans, land use changes, and development projects impact the way we move through the city. Today, City staff or traffic consultants use a regional model to analyze how programs, plans, changes in land use, and development projects impact car traffic. The regional model will be refined specifically to form the basis of the City’s model. The model will also be able to consider multiple modes of travel, not just cars.

Community Development, Public Works, and Transportation Department staff are collaborating with a consultant, Fehr and Peers, to build this new model. The model will:

  • Measure how potential changes in land use impact travel in and through Culver City
  • Help the City design efficient ways for pedestrians, bicyclists, scooter users, transit riders, and drivers to get around
  • Clarify how changes in the city help or hinder efforts to address climate change and greenhouse gas emissions
  • Assess how well strategies meant to decrease demand for car travel are working
  • Measure how changes to the urban fabric influence how people choose to get around
  • Provide data on vehicle usage to meet the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act
  • Measure how development and other changes impact traffic congestion
  • Help City staff improve its review of proposed development projects

REVISED! Traffic Study Criteria and Impact Analysis

The City will also update its Traffic Study Criteria to comply with changes in state environmental and planning laws. State Bill 743, adopted in 2013, requires that all cities in California begin analyzing the traffic impacts of programs, plans, and projects based on Vehicle Miles Traveled, or VMT.

This method of understanding project impacts requires measuring not only the total number of car trips to or from a project, but also the total length of each of those trips, where the trips are starting and ending, and whether the trips are by car, bus, bike, scooter, walking, or a combination of modes. This approach intends to balance several goals: addressing traffic congestion challenges, promoting more efficient development patterns, promoting public health through active transportation, and reducing emissions of the harmful greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. While traffic congestion will no longer be the primary measure of a project’s impacts under state law, it is expected that the City will continue to measure how development projects impact local traffic conditions at nearby streets and intersections.

Here are the State thresholds for environmental impacts of projects:

The project would have a significant impact on the environment if it would:

  • Conflict with a plan, ordinance, or policy addressing the safety or performance of the circulation system, including transit, roadways, bicycle lanes, and pedestrian paths (except for automobile level of service or other measures of vehicle delay); or
  • Cause substantial additional vehicle miles traveled per capita or per worker; or
  • Substantially induce additional automobile travel by increasing physical roadway capacity in congested areas or by adding new roadways to the network.

In addition to the State thresholds, the City will evaluate any local thresholds for environmental impacts in the update of its Traffic Study Criteria.

The model itself is a highly technical computer program that can feel a bit perplexing at first. Fehr and Peers will provide information that helps the community understand what this project is about, how the model helps us to create a better community, and how to get involved.

Resources

Have Questions? Contact Ashley Hefner, AICP, Advance Planning Manager at ashley.hefner@culvercity.org

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