RCTF Rural Induced Demand Study

Rural Counties Task Force:  Rural Induced Demand Study

NCTC is one of 26 rural counties that make up the Rural Counties Task Force (RCTF). These counties have a population less than 250,000 and do not have an urbanized area greater than 50,000. The 26 rural county Regional Transportation Planning Agencies (RTPA), or Local Transportation Commissions, collaborate on transportation issues, funding, and advocate on these issues through a unified voice to the California Transportation Commission, Caltrans, and the State Transportation Agency. The RCTF has been a critical forum for discussing the changing transportation landscape through the implementation of SB 743 and other related state initiatives to address climate change. 
Specifically, recent guidelines such as the Transportation Analysis Framework (Caltrans, 2020) and Climate Action Plan for Transportation Infrastructure (CalSTA, 2021) established policies directed at reducing vehicle miles traveled (VMT) by supporting projects that do not induce demand through implementation of multimodal transportation options and non-capacity increasing roadway projects. Rural agencies are concerned with the applicability of induced demand guidelines in rural corridors absent significant congestion and are seeking data and analysis to help ensure the issue is correctly addressed in state guidelines and that the associated funding program criteria do not unnecessarily limit the competitiveness of rural projects for state funding programs.  Many of the transportation projects featured in rural regional transportation plans include active transportation and complete streets projects to improve rural main streets and multi-modal mobility; however, additional lanes may be required to address operational and safety improvements, as well as, maintaining mobility for tourism and accessibility, and providing sufficient capacity to serve communities during wildfire evacuations.
As part of the regional transportation planning process and on behalf of the RCTF, NCTC hired a consultant, DKS Associates, to research the current body of literature on induced demand to understand the applicability to projects in rural areas of the state, identify and evaluate case studies to determine the occurrence of induced demand and the contributing factors, and make recommendations to appropriately address induced demand on rural highway improvements, including recommendations for addressing these rural highway improvements in relation to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). 
In addition, the study will include a review of existing state guidance documents and research on induced demand and may necessitate additional data collection as available, in order to provide recommendations on how to appropriately determine if a capacity improvement on rural state highways will induce significant demand and develop recommendations for incorporating the study findings into future updates of state guidance documents.

RCTF Rural Induced Demand Study powerpoint