Vehicle Miles Traveled

How are we doing?

Reducing Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) by creating walkable, bike-friendly,transit-oriented oriented communities are key components of the Santa Monica Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE). LUCE is part of the Santa Monica General Plan, which establishes the City’s land use, urban design, and transportation vision. The higher the total VMT, the more congestion plagues our streets and pollutes the air. A reduction in total VMT indicates a reduction in trips and/or an overall shift to more sustainable transportation alternatives such as transit, biking, walking, or carpooling.
The City published the 2020 Greenhouse Gas Inventory to measure communitywide greenhouse gas emissions. In 2020, the City experienced a significant decrease in vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions. At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, residents were asked to stay home, work from home, and many establishments were closed. As a result, there were fewer vehicles on the road. However, the data was trending downward even before the pandemic. The next greenhouse gas inventory will show what direction the City is going in. 

Vehicle Miles Traveled

Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) are estimated based on modeled data from Google’s Environmental Insights Explorer. The City assumes 100% of all in-boundary trips and half of each trip that starts and ends in Santa Monica. This is called an “Origin-Destination Methodology,” which is standard practice for calculating vehicle transportation emissions. Pass-through trips (i.e., Malibu to Downtown Los Angeles) are not associated with Santa Monica, as each community should claim their respective half of the trip.

Emissions from Vehicle Miles Traveled

This indicators measures the amount of greenhouse gas emissions contributed by vehicle miles traveled. 

Percent of Emissions from Vehicles Miles Traveled

This indicators measures the percent of the communitywide emissions are contributed to vehicles miles traveled.