The Framework for California

Chapter 3: Mobility

Our plan for convenient, safe, environmentally-friendly transportation.


Housing and Transportation: The Same Issue

Download Chapter 3 as a PDF

A flourishing city is built upon two pillars. The first is secure, affordable housing for all its residents. The second is efficient, accessible, safe, and clean transportation networks that connect people and neighborhoods across the urban landscape.

California’s cities are far from that ideal. For nearly a century, the state has consistently prioritized infrastructure for cars over clean and affordable mobility for people: demolishing entire neighborhoods to make room for freeways, under-funding public transit, and engineering  street designs that encourage unsafe driving at the expense of public health and human life.

The result has been an unmitigated human and environmental disaster. Once-thriving communities of color are carved up and depopulated, replaced by concrete overpasses. Traffic collisions kill thousands of Californians annually — a grim toll that has only worsened in recent years. Car smog chokes the air of California, leaving its cities with some of the worst air quality in the United States.

The long-term climate impacts are less visible but no less insidious. Thanks in large part to California’s car-oriented land use policies, transportation is the biggest source of climate pollution in the state. In fact, recent research has made clear that California has no viable path to meeting its climate goals unless we significantly reduce driving. 

Yet, in spite of the hundreds of billions of dollars invested in California’s car-dependent infrastructure – and the additional financial, economic, and health toll of air pollution and traffic violence –  residents of California’s big cities still lose countless hours to traffic congestion each year. Los Angeles is notorious for its bumper-to-bumper traffic, but other major metropolitan areas haven’t been spared: the major roadways of the Bay Area, for example, are similarly jammed with cars. So much cost for so little gain.

There is a better way. By redesigning our roads to favor safety over speed, we can make our cities hospitable to non-drivers: children, pedestrians, bike commuters, and others. We can curb pollution and make California live up to its reputation as a global leader in environmental sustainability. We can build bus and rail networks that make California cities easily navigable, even without a car. And by making it safer and easier to get around without driving, we can relieve congestion for the cars that remain on the road.

Below, we lay out our vision for an approach to transportation that achieves all these goals.

Incremental Recommendations

Incremental Recommendations

Transformative Recommendations

Transformative Recommendations