Los Angeles Readies to Adopt Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) instead of Level of Service (LOS) for CA Environmental Equality Act (CEQA) Analysis

For decades, the transportation impacts of all projects subject to CEQA – including housing developments, sporting venues, and transportation infrastructure – have been evaluated by the metric “Level of Service,” or LOS, a measure of automobile traffic congestion at signalized intersections surrounding a project site.  Any project determined to have a significant impact on LOS is required to provide mitigation measures, most frequently in the form or road widenings to increase vehicular throughput.

But by July 1, 2020, all California cities – including Los Angeles – are required to update their transportation impact analysis from LOS to Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT).  Rather than treating traffic congestion faced by drivers as an environmental impact, this new metric instead considers the act of driving itself as the environmental impact.