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New Traffic Assessment System in San Jose Could Reduce Motor Vehicle Accidents

Posted on in Personal Injury

motor vehicle accidents, San Jose accident attorney, Senate Bill 743,  VMT system, traffic assessment systemSan Jose is undergoing a transformation. In addition to job growth, city leaders are aiming to create better neighborhoods while easing the city’s traffic woes and making the area more pedestrian and bike friendly. A recently approved assessment plan for future development promises to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while making travel time more convenient and helping to prevent the number of motor vehicle accidents and injuries which occur each year.

Planning Development to Be Smarter, More Convenient

When new developments are proposed in communities, whether it be a shopping center, a business office, or a public park, assessments are conducted to determine the potential impacts it will have on traffic in the area. Previously, it was standard in California to use a Level of Service (LOS) assessment system, which measured vehicle delays at intersections, making projections to determine the possible impacts of new structures.

In 2013, Senate Bill 743 was passed. Under guidelines from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, the law mandates switching from LOS assessment to a Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) system, which is deemed as being more effective. VMT measures the distance and amount people typically travel in personal vehicles and seeks to plan development accordingly, thus creating complementary land uses. For example, this might include making sure business developments are in areas with public transportation for commuters while making sure parks and recreational areas are closer to homes and along roads equipped with bike lanes and sidewalks.

In addition to planning developments that are more convenient, VMT holds promise in helping to protect the environment and the health of residents. By encouraging walking and eliminating high traffic conditions that make motor vehicle accidents more likely to occur, the new assessment could save the state as much as $15 billion per year in medical care and disability costs.

San Jose Switches to Vehicle Miles Traveled Metric

Since SB 743 was introduced, the city of San Jose has been working to implement it in planning. In late February 2018, the city council announced they had finalized details that would allow them to switch from LOS to VMT for future developments. Positive outcomes expected from the switch include:

  • Better support for public transit riders, along with bicyclists and pedestrians;
  • Improved environmental sustainability;
  • Facilitation of the City’s General Plan, which includes increasing jobs, accessibility, and public spaces while reducing the number of car, bike, and pedestrian accidents which occur each year.

Under the previous LOS assessment system, new development would often require expanding intersections. San Jose’s roadway network no longer allows the space to do this. By implementing the new VMT system, it encourages development planning geared to a more active and overall safer community, while streamlining existing traffic systems.

Let Us Help You Today

Jachimowicz Law Group supports efforts to reduce the number of motor vehicle, bike, and pedestrian accidents in our community. When these types of injuries do occur, contact our talented San Jose accident attorneys and request a consultation to see how we can assist you.

Sources:

http://opr.ca.gov/ceqa/updates/sb-743/

http://www.sanjoseca.gov/vmt

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