Most of the City of San Jose’s auto-oriented transportation network and land use patterns reflect its massive growth in the middle of the 20th century. The city has begun to adjust its policy frameworks to chart a course toward a more walkable, transit-oriented future. As in many California cities, San Jose’s outdated development and transportation project review procedures are a major impediment to sustainable growth. After the passage of a state law that directed cities to discontinue the use of an influential auto-oriented development review methodology called Level of Service (LOS), the city wanted to update its approach.
Nelson\Nygaard completed a synthesis of San Jose’s latest transportation policy guidance and a detailed inventory of the city’s existing development-review procedures to lay the foundation for an overhaul of the city’s approach. We led an effort to engage stakeholders across city and county governments, the development community, and transportation engineers to understand how analysis procedures play out practically and to solicit input on potential adjustments to procedures. We also developed a workplan for implementing an analysis methodology centered on vehicle miles traveled, a transportation performance metric that aligned with state guidance and was much more in sync with recent city policies. Finally, we completed an analysis of gaps in city policy that might need to be addressed to support the adjustment in development-review procedures.
San Jose is poised to implement its switch to VMT in late 2017 and to proceed with other policy work.