Integrating Conservation and Transportation Planning in Los Angeles: A Case Study of Regional Habitat Conservation Plans

Project Summary

The current structure of regional governments encourages municipalities to act in isolation and not in line with regional interests, creating limitations to meaningful regional planning that address environmental goals. The role of transportation in land use is thus central to executing regional conservation that crosses local government boundaries. This report examines seven Regional Habitat Conservation Plans (RCHPs) and strategies for integrating transportation agencies into conservation projects. The research found that regional agencies that lead RHCP planning are often in charge of regional transportation planning. Since transportation planning is central to regional planning initiatives, encouraging pre-existing organizations to lead the way facilitates responsible economic development and buy-in from local governments. This project contributes key ways to accumulate support and develop effective partnerships for conservation efforts to protect biodiversity. Cooperation among municipalities, transportation agencies, and other organizations can reduce the political and administrative obstacles to ecosystem protection. 

Research Team

Jaimee Lederman
Urban Planning, Luskin School of Public Affairs

Advisor: Martin Wachs
Urban Planning, Luskin School of Public Affairs

Progress and Results

The case studies evaluated demonstrate that including transportation agencies increases political support for conservation plans. Transportation agencies that participate in regional planning save time and money on project delivery, while efficiently implementing features that mitigate impacts on local ecosystems. This research offers best practices on how to encourage institutional support for regional initiatives. These practices include leveraging local and agency funding, building coalitions that reinforce existing regional governance institutions, and creating flexibility to allow stakeholders to opportunistically join coalitions. 

Other Information of Interest