What is this indicator

This indicator measures the City’s daily vehicle miles traveled (VMT) per capita. VMT counts the number of miles traveled for motor vehicle trips generated in the City. VMT captures trip generation rates for motor vehicles as well as trip length. Although VMT counts only motor vehicle trips (and not trips taken by other modes), it registers the benefits of trips made by alternative transportation modes insofar as they reduce motor vehicle travel. 

Why is it important?

VMT signals how effective City policies are at reducing trip length as a result of improving access to local destinations. In this way, VMT captures the environmental benefits of transit and active mode trips as well as integrated land use/transportation planning.
Citywide VMT per capita is estimated using a Santa Monica-specific Travel Demand Forecast Model (TDFM). The TDFM was created to simulate existing and future transportation conditions, including traffic levels and travel patterns. It is a sophisticated model that was calibrated based on a land use survey of the City and existing transportation counts. The TDFM encompasses the City of Santa Monica and neighboring areas of the City of Los Angeles. The TDFM is used to forecast a number of key transportation metrics including the number of PM Peak Hour Trips generated within the City of Santa Monica, VMT per capita, and corridor travel time.
Vehicle travel leads to a number of direct and indirect impacts on the environment and human health. As VMT increases, so do emissions of air pollutants, including greenhouse gases, and consumption of fossil fuels for energy. In addition to these impacts, increased VMT results in congestion on City streets. The LUCE envisions that even with future increases in population and employment, integrated land use and transportation planning and policies in combination with aggressive Transportation Demand Management (TDM) measures will lead to a reduction in VMT per capita by 2030.

How are we doing?

In 2018, the number of vehicle miles traveled per capita measured at 8.7 per capita VMT. The TDFM estimates that between 2013 and 2018, daily per capita VMT decreased by 2% from 8.9 to 8.7. Recent calibration of the City’s TDFM indicates that the City is on track to meet the 2020 target of reducing per capita VMT. 

What can I do?