For decades, Southern California has experienced some of the most dramatic growth seen anywhere in the world. Our collective population now surpasses 18 million. But it's not going to stop there. By 2035, experts tell us that another six million people are coming and that more than two-thirds of these will be children born to our growing families.
Even as we have enjoyed a robust economy and weathered the recent downturn better than many parts of the state, growth and development issues are at the forefront of public concern. High on the list of complaints are increasing congestion, loss of open space, and an ill-defined but strongly held belief that "livability" is slipping away. A consensus has emerged that our transportation and land use activities are contributing to global climate change.
Resolving these concerns in an area as large as the six-county SCAG region will be impossible working purely at the local government level, prioritizing purely local interests and concerns. We need a regional framework in which to view these problems - transportation, housing, jobs, air quality, open space, and climate - that reach across political boundaries.
SCAG has provided the regional forum and convened the stakeholders to create a commonly held vision that respects both local interests and collective regional values. We hope this vision will guide the development of our modern metropolis through improved land use decisions and public and private investments in transportation infrastructure, housing, public schools, and real estate development.
Linking land use and transportation planning
The quality of life in any region depends in large part on travel - how easy it is to get from home to work and back, the amount of time spent commuting, and the types and degree of choices available for getting around. Closely related to that are the choices we make about how land should be used. The types and appearances of buildings, how they function in a neighborhood or business district, and where they are located all have an effect on transportation use. For example, a small neighborhood that combines a shopping area with nearby residences makes it easier for people to walk for some of their trips. Highway-adjacent commercial development, however, tends to require auto travel for all trips.
Compass Blueprint looks at these important relationships and makes the case that land use and transportation planning decisions should be made in careful coordination with each other.