White Paper on Performance-Based Approaches to Incentivize Local Adoption of Sustainable Land-Use Policies

California's SB 375 creates new expectations for the performance of land use. The law tasks regional Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) with developing land use strategies that, when paired with supportive transportation investments, will reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A fundamental challenge with this approach is that in California (as with many other states) land use authority is held by local governments, not MPOs. Individual cities and counties make the final decision when it comes to how land development occurs and whether it might reduce or intensify automobile reliance. SB 375 highlights the complex relationship between upstream land use policy and downstream impacts. It raises salient questions regarding the ability of state or regionally crafted policies to influence local land use plans, policies, and outcomes; and how to observe policy impact and land use change over time. The literature tells us that the effectiveness of state and regional policies to reduce sprawl is mixed. There is a sizable literature examining the effectiveness of state efforts to shape land use, local plans, implementation activities, and ultimately the development that follows. Unfortunately, the evidence is inconclusive when it comes to identifying which of the many state policy mechanisms are most effective. Where state polices have been found to moderate land consumption, they do so at the margins. One approach states have taken is designating targeted development zones, which does appear to make development in these areas somewhat more likely.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 34p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01761141
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: CAl8-2828, UCD-CT-TO-WP 4.3
  • Contract Numbers: 65A0527 TO 014 A0l
  • Created Date: Nov 24 2020 11:32AM