Performance: SACOG Project Screening Assessment

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What it does: 

The Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) rigorously vetted major transportation projects in their Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) to determine where road investments were needed or could be delayed or scaled down. The analysis questioned whether the roadway in question is congested during peak demand periods, whether the planned increase in capacity is greater than the projected increase in travel, and whether the roadway significantly is under used during peak periods.

Goals: 

To meet federal and state financial constraint and air quality emissions, SACOG created the phasing analysis to make sure the new RTP would meet the goals set by California's green house gas resolution law, SB 375. Under SB 375, the state set a goal for SACOG's next RTP to show a decrease in per capita GHG emissions from passenger vehicle use. 

Cost & Financing: 

The screening assessment was not budgeted separately. Two staff members worked over the course of a few months to create the performance analysis and vet over 100 major transportation projects. Vetting projects led to increased communication between SACOG, the region's Metropolitan Planning Organization, with local agencies.

Outcomes: 

The 2016 update of the Metropolitan Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy can be compared to the 2012 plan as both focus on land use forecast, transportation funding, investment strategy, investment timing, and plan effects. Overall, the 2016 plan shows a more efficient strategy because the transportation investments focus on improvements that feed into job centers, reducing average trip lengths, and better linking residents to jobs. 

  • Land Use Forecast The regional distribution of housing growth is largely the same. The draft forecast has two percent more growth in infill areas and two percent less growth in greenfield areas than the 2012 plan. 
  • Transportation Funding In addition to maintaining all funding sources from the 2012 plan, the following three revenue sources were added: $2.6 billion from a 1/2 cent sales tax in Placer County, $1 billion in projected state Cap and Trade revenues, and $600 million in state Highway Bridge Funding. 
  • Investment Strategy Overall, over 100 road or highway capacity projects were delayed out of the Draft Preferred Scenario. For system maintenance needs, $2 billion was added. By delaying or scaling down capacity expansion projects, funding for road and highway expansion will be reduced by $600 million while transit capital will increase by $200 million. 
  • Investment Timing In the Drafted Preferred Scenario, there will be 196 fewer lane miles of new roads, meaning a three percent reduction from the current plan, and 21 fewer daily vehicle service hours of transit, a one percent reduction.  
  • Plan Effects The Draft Preferred Scenario is expected to achieve the region's SB 375 greenhouse gas targets for the years 2020 and 2035. Even though the plan expects a decrease in overall transit investment and lower fuel prices, it also  expects better transit performance due to a more efficient transportation system. Unfortunately, there will be 4% less transit ridership than the current plan since lower fuel prices cause private automobile usage to be more economical. However, combined reductions in road capacity investments are projected to result in greater reductions in vehicle miles traveled compared to the current plan.  Congested travel is projected to remain the same as the current plan. 

The Draft Preferred Scenario is projected to cause a decline in average commute vehicle miles travelled per worker within the regional employment centers by 15%. Transit, bike, and walk mode share for commute travel to regional employment centers is expected to increase by 93% over time. The number of jobs within a 20 minute drive of residences is expected to increase by 36%. This is due to focusing transportation investments that feed into regional job centers. 

To see a more detailed comparison of the 2012 Plan and the Draft Preferred Scenario and its projected outcomes, please check out Attachment D of the Endorse 2016 Metropolitan Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy Update: Preferred Scenario. 

Key Contacts: 

Name Organization Phone Number E-mail
Bruce Griesenbeck Sacramento Area Council of Governments (916) 340-6235 bgriesenbeck@sacog.org
Matthew Baker The Environmental Council of Sacramento (916) 202-9093 habitat@ecosacramento.net

Bruce Griesenbeck is the Principal Project Expert. He was one of the staff members vetting and working with the local agencies. Matthew Baker is the Land Use and Conservation Policy Director.

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Last Updated 12/1/15 | Written By Mimi Tam