Senate Bill 743 (SB 743, Steinberg, 2013) was signed into law in September 2013. This legislation is intended to promote infill development, reduce green-house gas emissions, and improve public health through implementation of active transportation projects. The new law changed the way that the effects of land use projects on the transportation network are analyzed within the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). SB 743 states that traffic congestion, or level of service, should not be considered to have a significant impact on the environment under CEQA.
SB743 required the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) to identify new metrics for evaluating and mitigating transportation impacts under CEQA. OPR identified Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) as the new metric that should be used to analyze the effects of land use projects on the transportation network. For transportation projects, the lead agency has discretion to choose a metric that is consistent with CEQA and other local planning requirements and priorities. In December 2018, the CEQA guidelines were updated to reflect these regulatory changes. OPR released a Technical Advisory in December 2018 which includes recommendations on how to assess VMT, thresholds of significance, and mitigation measures. Statewide implementation of the SB 743 requirements went into effect on July 1st, 2020.