Tools and Best Practices for Land Use Efficiency and Equity in Cities
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Tools and Best Practices for Land Use Efficiency and Equity in Cities

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Lowering vehicle miles traveled (VMT) to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets through land use and transportation planning and investments is a primary goal of planning organizations in California. This report provides information about the landscape of methods and tools available to regional and local governments to evaluate the land use efficiency and equity within their jurisdictions. This study draws on an evaluation of web-based tools for analyzing VMT generation, gentrification, and equity, and a stakeholder workshop to identify promising practices and opportunities for improvement with respect to planning tools to support land use efficiency. Most of the 11 tools analyzed were easy to use, providing ease of navigation and interactive, intuitive interfaces. Some were static with minimal or no documentation to help understand how to use them. None of the tools reviewed addressed all three issues of VMT generation, gentrification, and equity that were the focus of the study. However, the three tools addressed VMT and equity together were intuitive to use and provided multiple indicators for which to visualize outcomes relevant to VMT and equity. Stakeholders from metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), city governments, and county governments discussed and gaps of existing land use efficiency tools and the potential need for a new tool development or improvements to existing tools. Participants saw the value of existing quantitative mapping tools supporting their evaluations of proposed planning projects as well as helping to facilitate conversations among staff about the impacts and potential VMT or greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Key gaps included transferability of data and analyses across scales and limited data available for rural areas. Participants saw the need for a new tool that could integrate localized data with statewide data. The findings can inform interagency collaboration around equity analysis and tool development.

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