Southern California Regional Plan, Southern California

Federal Highway Administration
This case study presents the goals and methods of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) 1998 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), Community Link21. Developed after three years of dialogue and discussions with the community in the Southern California Region, this 20-year transportation plan sets goals, objectives and policies to address equity and accessibility issues in transportation planning. The regional plan employs the use of performance indicators (accessibility, environment, reliability, safety, livable communities, equity and cost-effectiveness) each with a quantifiable objective. The RTP is noteworthy because of SCAG's effective use of performance measures to address not only its transportation mobility and air quality measures, but also social policy objectives. Particularly noteworthy is the RTP's method for measuring benefits and burdens by income quintile--thereby, introducing an additional "equity" dimension into a study method more traditionally focused upon "efficiency." The user benefit methodology explores the stratification of automobile and transit trips by income level as well as an individual's ability and "willingness to pay" characteristics. The case study also details how accessibility measures can be used to assess the impacts of transportation strategies for promoting improved access to jobs and other essential opportunities for various low-income and minority populations. This case study highlights a transportation planning analysis that extends the traditional user benefit methodology by assessing the benefits and burden impacts by income segment. The plan explicitly incorporates equity performance measures to meet transportation goals. The case study is targeted to engage transportation planners who rigorously employ transportation economics into their decision-making processes as part of the metropolitan and statewide transportation planning process. The case study illustrates how data sources and methods can integrate environmental justice considerations into transportation decision-making.
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