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Transportation Analysis Policy Update

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Recent City Council Study Session

On May 12, 2020, the second City Council study session was held with a similar presentation as the April 22, 2020 Planning Commission Study session. A video of the Council presentation is available to view. This particular item is referred to as item number three on the Council Agenda and can be found by skipping ahead in the video to the 2:38 hour mark.

The Draft VMT Policy is now available for review.  

This policy outlines the proposed methodology of the City of Santa Clara for evaluating land use and transportation projects using Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) as the metric for determining transportation impacts within the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) as well as other transportation analysis requirements outside of CEQA. 

If you have any comments, please reach out to

Recent Planning Commission Study Session

The City of Santa Clara continues to make progress on adoption of a new transportation analysis policy to align with Senate Bill 743. On April 22, 2020 a second Planning Commission study session was held to present the staff recommendations on the draft policy. A City Council study session to present the staff recommendations on the draft policy will be held on May 12, 2020. 

The current schedule for policy hearings are: 

  • Planning Commission hearing on June 10, 2020 and 
  • City Council Hearing June 23, 2020.  

Attached below is a presentation that outlines the staff recommendations for setting baselines, thresholds, project exemptions, and how level of service will be used for projects approved after July 1, 2020.  

View the Planning Commission Study Session Presentation

If you would like to submit any comments or questions before the June 10, 2020 Planning Commission hearing, the deadline is June 1, 2020.

Public Input Request 

As further outreach is needed, the City welcomes all interested people and stakeholders to review the attached presentation and submit any comments or questions related to this new policy. Please send questions or comments to:

Karen Mack at 

Past Community Meetings

On October 24 and December 30, 2019, the City hosted two community meetings to introduce Senate Bill 743 and Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT). The presentation introduced Senate Bill 743 and the reasons why California cities should adopt VMT as the measure of transportation environmental impacts. The City is planning on hosting a second set of community meetings in spring 2020 to provide more information on proposed updates to the City’s transportation analysis policy.

First Council Study Session

On December 11, 2019 a Planning Commission study session was held to provide the Commission and general public information about the proposed changes to the City’s transportation analysis methodology and processes to comply with the state law (Senate Bill 743). The presentation was similar to the City Council study session and gave the Planning Commission an opportunity to ask questions about the City’s process for adoption. Issues raised by the Planning Commission included current traffic conditions, regional transportation, references to a previous study session on Travel Demand Management Programs (TDMs), and a desire for more Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) reduction than currently required in existing TDM programs in other cities. Commissioners recognized the value of the bike and scooter share programs, and there was a lot of discussion about the limited availability of transit options today. The Commissioners provided a wish list that included: Vision Zero, a minimum VMT reduction of 35 percent, and a focus on the importance of Level of Service (LOS) and better TDM documentation. There were also discussions of Transportation Management Associations (TMAs) in order to address nonresidential transportation issues and provide overall support for the transition to VMT.

View the Planning Commission Study Session Agenda 

On November 5, a City Council study session was held to provide the Council and general public information about the proposed changes to the City’s transportation analysis methodology and processes to comply with state law (Senate Bill 743). Public Works staff presented information on the State’s requirements and the technical considerations that staff will be evaluating as well as a schedule for adoption. Issues raised by the Council included concerns about regional traffic, countywide coordination, the use of big data, any proposed DMV fees for VMT, what other cities have done, how the City’s travel demand model measures VMT, the importance of continued use of level of service (LOS) and methods for estimating VMT. 

View the City Council agenda and presentation.

The City of Santa Clara is changing the way we measure how new development impacts transportation to comply with State law by updating our transportation analysis methodology and processes. This website will be updated with information on an ongoing basis as we develop this new transportation policy, including details on community outreach and public hearings.


In 2013, the State of California signed Senate Bill (SB) 743 into law, which mandates that cities can no longer use automobile delay, commonly measured by Level of Service (LOS), in transportation analysis under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The State has issued guidelines that recommend adopting Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) as the methodology to determine whether a project has transportation impacts under CEQA.


The State requires all Cities to adopt this new transportation analysis methodology by July 1, 2020. However, the City will continue to evaluate transportation impacts using Level of Service until a new policy is adopted. The following depicts the City's timeline for developing a new transportation policy. 

VMT Timeline

Community Outreach

To ensure that citizens and stakeholders are informed about this change in the way the City measures transportation impacts, we will be conducting various community outreach activities in the coming months. New and upcoming outreach activities will be posted at the top of this page as they are scheduled. Once the outreach has occurred, information and meeting materials will be posted below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

To provide more information about this update to the City’s Transportation Analysis methodology, an FAQ document that gives more details about the current requirements and the proposed updated requirements can be found at the link below.

Contact Information

For more information on the Transportation Analysis Policy Update, please email Carol Shariat at or Karen Mack at

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