Cultivating Cooperation without Control: A Study of California's MPO-Driven Smart Growth Programs

California’s Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008 (SB375) establishes a new framework for the metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) that plan and allocate federal funding for regional transportation investments in California. MPOs must plan for transportation investments that would support land use and development patterns to reduce automobile reliance and transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions; this plan is called the Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS). MPOs themselves have no direct control, however, over land use and development patterns. SB375 anticipates that they will instead leverage the federal transportation funds at their disposal to incentivize local land use decisions compatible with their SCS (and ultimately SB 375 GHG reduction goals). Four longstanding MPO-driven programs to encourage smart growth in the state’s four largest metropolitan regions are examined to determine whether such incentives are likely to achieve the desired results.

  • Record URL:
  • Availability:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This research was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers program.
  • Corporate Authors:

    University of California, Davis

    Plug-in Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Research Center, Institute of Transportation Studies
    Davis, CA  United States  95616

    University of California, Davis

    Urban Land Use and Transportation Center
    Davis, CA  United States  95616

    William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

    2121 Sand Hill Road
    Menlo Park, CA  United States  94025

    California Department of Transportation

    1120 N Street
    Sacramento, CA  United States  95814

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Handy, Susan
    • Sciara, Gian-Claudia
  • Publication Date: 2013-4


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 41p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01497433
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: UC Berkeley Transportation Library
  • Report/Paper Numbers: UCD-ITS-RR-13-07
  • Created Date: Nov 1 2013 2:40PM