Transportation Impact Review

Transportation analyses at both the City and State level involve more sustainable and holistic approaches to understanding how development, and the increased travel associated with those developments, should be addressed. The City’s General Plan lays out a blueprint for the future growth and vision of the City, identifying what growth should look like in the City’s various communities and neighborhoods, while taking into account that each neighborhood has unique characteristics and opportunities. Under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines, Section 21099, “automobile delay, as described solely by level of service or similar measures of vehicular capacity or traffic congestion shall not be considered a significant impact on the environment.” The State of California determines the significance of transportation impacts under criteria which would promote 1) the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, 2) the development of multimodal transportation networks, and 3) a diversity of land uses. As developers respond to the City’s vision in the form of proposed projects, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is tasked with the responsibility of analyzing proposed projects for any potential transportation-related impacts.

The City’s adopted CEQA metrics are reflective of the City’s comprehensive smart growth approach of planned land uses and supportive transportation options that are intended to produce a more sustainable urban environment and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

The City’s Local Mobility Analysis (LMA) process considers the effects of new developments on the street network. It is DOT’s responsibility to identify any potential transportation-related impacts and identify strategies that would minimize or manage the potential impact.

Mitigation measures and/or project approval conditions are developed in accordance to the policies of the General Plan Mobility Element.

The City’s Transportation Impact Analysis Guidelines

Current Practices and Guidelines (effective through July 3, 2022)

Transportation Impact Analysis and Guidelines (April 2022), effective on July 3, 2022

The City’s Transportation Impact Analysis (TIA) guidelines are developed to guide traffic consultants and developers throughout the project development review process, and assess the project’s potential impacts on pedestrian, bicyclists, transit, and motorists. Mitigation measures and/or project approval conditions are developed in accordance to the policies of the General Plan Mobility Element.

The transportation analysis may require CEQA analyses and/or Local Mobility Analyses, in accordance with the City’s established thresholds, as defined below:

Thresholds for Determining Transportation Review of Development Projects

Project Category
Type of Project EXEMPT Category 1:
Category 2:


Residential Land Uses
(Net New Units)
≤ 10 units 11 - 49 Units ≥ 50 units
Non-Residential Land
Uses (Net New Sq Ft or
Net New Daily Trips)
≤ 10,000 Sq Ft; or
< 110 Daily Trips
10,001 – 49,999 Sq Ft;
or ≥ 110 Daily Trips
≥ 50,000 Sq Ft
Analysis Requirements None Local Mobility Analysis Local Mobility
Analysis and
CEQA Analysis

Flow Chart of Transportation Study Review Process

1 DOT will require certain typical conditions of approval for all development projects, including but not limited to items such as payment of the Traffic Improvement Fee, overnight parking restrictions, etc.

Travel Demand Model

The City of Pasadena model is consistent in form and function with standard travel forecasting models used in transportation planning. The model includes a land use/trip generation module, a gravity-based trip distribution model, and a capacity-restrained equilibrium traffic assignment process. The travel model utilizes the TransCAD Transportation GIS software, which is consistent with many of the models used by local jurisdictions in California and throughout the nation.

Travel Demand Forecasting Model Report (2011)

Model Development Report (2018)

Baseline Increase Memo (2019)