Visualizing VMT Per Capita

A Tool to Support California Transportation Planning

Published: January 03, 2023

Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) is an essential metric for measuring the impacts of land use and transportation network decisions. While the metric can be expressed in many forms, VMT per capita is commonly needed for various California transportation planning applications including:

  • CEQA transportation impacts
  • Competitive grant applications
  • Greenhouse gas (GHG) and air pollutant emissions modeling
  • Land use scenario analysis for general and specific plans

 

Until now, the applications above required local or regional travel demand models to estimate current conditions and those models did not allow comparisons across regions. To better understand VMT per capita and how it varies across California, we’re introducing a first-of-its-kind VMT visualizer, VMT+, that can equip planners with greater insight into VMT at the state, regional, and local levels. Developed with 2019 StreetLight data, VMT+ offers VMT per capita estimates with the option to filter down to the Census Block Group (CBG) level to understand a specific area’s VMT generation rates.

The idea for this tool came years ago from conversations with Caltrans and the Governor’s Office of Planning & Research (OPR), about the need for metrics to implement SB 743 in California. This data is now available statewide for public use and was designed as a template for visualizations in other states. A new 2022 data set will also be available soon through our consulting services.

We invite you to explore the new VMT+ visualizer and surrounding resources. Please note, these VMT estimates are new and have not been fully validated or peer reviewed. We welcome all suggestions for improving the data or tool. If you’d like current baseline estimates or wish to talk about the ability to track VMT performance over time, contact us.

Contributors

John Gard

John Gard

Principal

Mike Wallace

Mike Wallace

Forecasting Practice Leader

Ron Milam

Ron Milam

Forecasting Practice Leader

Patrick McDonough

Patrick McDonough

Database Engineer