As the crisis of climate change looms, transportation policy in California continues to emphasize sustainability in land-use and transportation decisions. This report evaluates the implementation of two sustainability-focused policies (Senate Bill 375 and 743) by local governments and the current-state-of-the-practices by metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) in assisting them in California. The research focuses on local governments’ access and use of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and transportation data for achieving VMT and greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction by land-use planning. The research also examines the role of MPOs in providing needed transportation data, training, and technical support to its local members to help them quantify VMT impacts of land-use plans and projects. Through surveys and interviews of 539 city and county governments and 18 MPOs in California, the research team analyzes current practices. Findings include that local governments utilize automobile data more frequently than alternative modes, and do not heavily rely on MPOs for obtaining transportation data. Local governments recognized the need for more transportation data and were particularly interested in publicly available sources. The MPOs reported that VMT/annual average daily traffic data and origin-destination matrix were most frequently requested. More sophisticated data such as travel-time matrix and mode-share scheme were considered useful by the MPOs, while requests were very low. Based on the results of the conducted surveys, interviews, and our analyses, we developed a transportation data guide for local governments that could help them access data for achieving VMT/GHG emission reduction via land-use planning. The guide has two parts, one for general plan update and any land-use plans along with SB 375 and the other for VMT analysis for project-level California Environmental Quality Act reviews. The guide includes several different approaches that can be chosen and tried by local governments depending on their resource level and geographic, social, and physical characteristics. These findings can facilitate the access and use of transportation data to aid in sustainable land-use planning for the betterment of local communities and the planet.

Publication Date


Publication Type



Sustainable Transportation and Land Use

Digital Object Identifier


MTI Project



sustainability, land-use planning


Transportation Engineering