Success Stories - Impacting City or State Planning

California – Using a traffic tool in San Francisco city planning

California Environmental Tracking Program Logo

What is the problem?

The San Francisco Planning Department needed a way to decide when to refer project sponsors or developers to the San Francisco Department of Public Health. The health department assesses the risk associated with exposure to roadway-related air pollutants, such as ozone, particulate matter, and nitrogen dioxide. These air pollutants can be triggers for asthma.

What did Tracking do?

The California Environmental Health Tracking Program developed a traffic tool that the Planning Department used as a screening instrument. The tool helped the Planning Department determine how close high-traffic roads were to a proposed project development. When residential or other sensitive uses such as a community space are proposed for sites within 500 feet of roads that more than 100,000 cars travel on daily, the Planning Department is required to perform a risk assessment to fully understand the potential effects of the project before approving it.

Improved public health

Local stakeholders used the California Tracking Program’s traffic tool to identify and prevent potentially harmful environmental risks in city planning.


Page last reviewed: January 3, 2014