Exploring Future Scenarios for Transportation and Land Use in California

Research Team: John Gahbauer (lead), Jacob Wasserman, Juan Matute, Alejandra Rios Gutierrez, and Brian Taylor

UC Campus(es): UCLA

Problem Statement: What will California’s transportation and land use future look like? Will Californians gain more mobility and housing options that support the state’s economic, social, and climate goals? Or will the car continue to shape what cities look like and how people get around in them? These questions are important because how Californians live and move in the future will be shaped by investments and policies made today.

Project Description: In this project, the researchers investigated the future of transportation, land use, and planning in California by exploring four transportation/land use scenarios for 2050 with a panel of 18 experts. The four scenarios were: (1) more city living and lots of traffic, (2) easy to get around without a car, (3) you’ll need a car to get around, and (4) lots of travel choices, but most will drive. Their consensus opinion was that the most desirable scenario (“Easy to Get Around without a Car”) is also the least likely to materialize, due to faults in the political planning process. Despite promising state policies to increase transportation choices, problematic local land use politics and patterns appear likely to yield a future scenario (“Lots of Travel Choices, but Most Will Drive”) that continues car dependence and chronic congestion, absent a significant rebuilding of government trust and capacity.

Status: Completed

Budget: $7,014