Sustainability Program

SCAG and Sustainability 


Scag & Sustainability

Since 2000, SCAG has worked actively with the people and institutions of Southern California to create a dynamic regional growth vision based on these four principles:  mobility, livability, prosperity, and sustainability. 

The Sustainable Region

Southern California is a leading center for innovation, university research, and technology development, all important aspects of building a sustainable region. As such, the region is in a unique position to build a clean energy economy, with livable communities and efficient buildings near clean transit.

About the Sustainability Program

California’s Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act, or Senate Bill (SB) 375, requires SCAG to develop a Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from cars and light trucks through integrated transportation, land use, housing and environmental planning. The Connect SoCal SCS is a plan for meeting greenhouse gas emission reduction targets set by the California Air Resources Board (ARB) for the SCAG region. 

The successful implementation of the RTP/SCS allows future residents to enjoy a better quality of life than we do today, including the ability to lead a healthy and prosperous lifestyle, enjoy clean air and water, and ample opportunities for recreation. It will have direct and substantial benefits to public health by reducing pollutant emissions and expanding the opportunities for active transportation. 


Climate Change

The Global Warming Solutions Act

SCAG is addressing the climate change challenge through implementation of recent State legislation. In 2006, Assembly Bill No. 32 (AB 32), the California Global Warming Solutions Act, passed into law requiring that statewide GHG emissions be reduced to 1990 levels by 2020. This would represent reducing about 30 percent from business-as-usual emission levels projected for 2020. On December 11, 2008, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) adopted a comprehensive Scoping Plan outlining the state’s strategy to achieve the 2020 GHG emission reduction target.


HQTA Pilot Project

HQTA Pilot Project

The 2016-2040 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy, adopted by SCAG in 2016, had anticipated a significant amount of new housing, population and employment growth to occur in High Quality Transit Areas (HQTAs). HQTAs, which feature frequent transit service or major transit stations, are located in communities throughout the SCAG region.


Alternative Fuels & Vehicles

PEV Toyota ImageIn 2012, the Southern California Association of Governments led a collaborative process to prepare Southern California for the anticipated influx of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) in the region, which could be as high as 700,000 by 2022 according to SCAG research. PEVs will reduce air pollution, decrease our dependency on foreign oil and attract green businesses to Southern California.


Open Space

Open Space & The Quality of Life

The concept of sustainability includes “Improving the quality of human life while living within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems.[1]” As our region grows and urbanizes, we are modifying the natural world and diminishing the availability of resources for future generations. While we continue to improve our quality of life, we must also create a sustainable framework for the future.


Green Buildings

Buildings & Green House Gas Emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions from buildings are substantial. New buildings can be constructed using passive solar building design, low- or zero-energy building techniques, using renewable heat sources. Existing buildings can be made more efficient through the use of insulation, high-efficiency appliances (particularly hot water heaters and furnaces), double- or triple-glazed windows, external window shades, and building orientation and siting.



Sustainable Energy

Clean, stable and sustainable sources of energy for Southern California are critical to supporting a healthy and resilient region. In developing future plans, SCAG must fully weigh and consider energy supply, efficiency, consumption and environmental impacts, such as greenhouse gas emissions.



Sustainability & Water

Water conservation  infographicAdditional water resources will be needed to meet the growing population and economy of the SCAG region. Sufficient water supplies are needed to meet these future water demands. In addition water quality and watershed management needs to be addressed.

Water supplies in the SCAG region come from a blend of local and imported sources. Water conservation, or efficiency, involves technological and behavioral changes that lower the demand for water.


Solid Waste

Waste Reduction & Global Climate Change

Solid waste reduction and recycling help address global climate change. The manufacture, distribution and use of products – as well as management of the resulting waste – all result in greenhouse gas emissions. Waste prevention and recycling reduce greenhouse gases associated with these activities by reducing methane emissions, saving energy, and increasing forest carbon sequestration.