2020-2021 Sustainable Communities Program Call for Applications

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Since 2005, SCAG’s various sustainability planning grant programs (Compass Blueprint, Sustainability Planning Grants, Sustainable Communities Program) have provided resources and direct technical assistance to jurisdictions to complete important local planning efforts and enable implementation of the Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy (RTP/SCS), which today is called Connect SoCal. The 2020-2021 Sustainable Communities Program (SCP) will provide local jurisdictions with multiple opportunities to seek funding and resources to meet the needs of their communities, address recovery and resiliency strategies considering COVID-19, and support regional goals.

SCAG will release Calls for Applications throughout Fiscal Year 2020-2021 to select projects within different program areas and funding categories. This approach will support local jurisdictions and agencies with resources for strategies related to active transportation, transportation safety, removing barriers to housing production, smart permitting, and integrated land use, among others.

SCP Goals

The SCP aims to:

  • Provide needed planning resources to local jurisdictions for active transportation and multimodal planning efforts, sustainability, land use, and planning for affordable housing;
  • Promote, address and ensure health and equity in regional land use and transportation planning and to close the gap of racial injustice and better serve our communities of color;
  • Encourage regional planning strategies to reduce motorized Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, particularly in environmental justice communities where there is the highest need for air quality improvements;
  • Develop local plans that support the implementation of key strategies and goals outlined in Connect SoCal’s Sustainable Communities Strategy;
  • Develop resources that support the Key Connections as outlined in Connect SoCal, including Shared Mobility and Mobility as a Service, Smart Cities and Job Centers, Accelerated Electrification, Go Zones, and Housing Supportive Infrastructure;
  • Support a resilient region that looks to climate adaptation and public health preparedness as key strategies to address community prosperity, transportation safety, economic recovery and sustainability; and
  • Increase the region’s competitiveness for federal and state funds, including, but not limited to the California Active Transportation Program and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Funds.

Active Transportation & Safety Call for Applications

The first Call for Applications will be released on September 8, 2020, with a focus on Active Transportation and Safety (AT&S) related projects. Applicants can apply for any of the three project types below within the AT&S program area. More details about each project type, program area goals, and the SCP overall can be found in the Sustainable Communities Program AT&S Guidelines. The deadline for the AT&S Call for Applications is November 13, 2020.

Learn more about the SCP AT&S Call for Applications at one of our Application Webinars on Wednesday, Oct. 7, from 1 – 3 p.m., or Wednesday, Oct. 21, from 10 a.m. – noon. The webinars will assist agencies in preparing applications, provide a forum to answer questions, and provide additional information and examples for each project type. Materials from the workshops will be posted to this page as a resource.

Each Project Type has a separate application, and the links to the online forms can be found below. To apply, simply click on the link to complete the application.


Active Transportation & Safety Project Types

Community or Area Wide Plans

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Active Transportation Focused Plans (maximum award per project: $500,000)

Applications submitted for this project type should support the implementation of the Core Vision: Complete Streets and Active Transportation strategies as outlined in Connect SoCal. All planning applications must meet the requirements of the Active Transportation Program, as described in Appendix A of the 2021 Active Transportation Program Guidelines (Cycle 5).

Examples of eligible plans include but are not limited to the following:

  • Community-wide Bicycle or Pedestrian Master Plans
  • Community-wide Active Transportation Master Plans
  • First-Last Mile Plans (active transportation improvements only)

The final deliverable for all plans must include the required components for a future ATP application, including project prioritization, conceptual renderings, and cost estimates.

Transportation Safety Focused Plans (maximum award per project: $250,000)

Applications submitted for this project type should include a focus on protecting people walking and biking but may also address vehicle to vehicle collisions. Examples of plans that may be funded include, but are not limited to:

  • Local Road Safety Plans
  • Complete Streets Safety Assessments
  • Safe Routes Plans

Safety Plans should aim to advance and leverage state and regional planning activities. Safety Plans are intended to help further the region’s efforts to reduce transportation-related serious injuries and fatalities and achieve regional safety targets. Information on SCAG’s safety targets can be found in the AT&S Program Guidelines.

Plans should be data driven and include recommendations for context-sensitive approaches for reducing collisions. Plans should be developed in close coordination with community members and stakeholders. Planning work will conclude with the preparation of a grant application for a project or program identified within the plan. To learn more about the region’s transportation safety existing conditions and safety targets, please visit SCAG’s Transportation Safety page.


Quick Build Projects

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Quick Build projects are interim capital improvement projects that further the goals of the ATP and serve as design/build opportunities based on community-feedback. These projects require minor construction activities, support workforce development needs, and are typically built with durable, low to moderate cost materials. Quick Build projects may be implemented for one to five years. These projects have moderate design flexibility to anticipate adjustments that may occur due to community feedback or design challenges. The purpose of a Quick Build project is to respond to an identified safety need and implement safety treatments, enabling a community to benefit quickly from the improvements. Quick Builds facilitate opportunities for communities to provide input and test the project improvements prior to full project construction.

Examples of eligible projects include but are not limited to the following:

  • Active transportation infrastructure (protected bike lane, bulb-outs, curb extensions)
  • Multimodal infrastructure integration (dedicated bus pilot lanes and transit integration with active transportation infrastructure)
  • Public Pedestrian Plazas

Network Visioning & Implementation

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SCAG is offering a network visioning project category to better position local jurisdictions to install targeted, complete, and low stress active transportation networks that can significantly improve safety, trigger economic development and contribute to sustainability efforts. Unlike traditional approaches, where the network is planned and built out over many years, one project or segment at a time, this approach develops a plan to deliver the entire network for targeted areas in a condensed timeframe ensuring there are no high-stress or unsafe gaps that compromise the travel experience. This project category prioritizes active transportation networks not as an amenity, but as essential and regionally significant transportation networks.

This project category will include development of a framework as a model for cities to work with SCAG and a consultant to conduct visioning and position cities to plan and install entire active transportation networks within a short- to mid-term timeframe, alongside thoughtful community engagement. The framework will identify and implement a phased approach for quick build pilot projects, identified through technical analysis and robust public engagement, prior to network construction, to take on the most “stressful” segment first and set up the network build-out in phases. The project will include the following elements:

  • Technical analysis
  • Public engagement
  • Education and advertising
  • Development of a Community-wide Active Transportation Plan
  • Phase 1 Quick Build project implementation
  • Evaluation

Applicants who wish to apply for this program are strongly encouraged to attend an Application Workshop and/or reach out to SCAG staff for more information.


Please note the following Key Milestones

  • Call for Applications Opens: September 8, 2020
  • Application Workshops: October 7 and October 21, 2020
  • SCAG SCP AT&S Call for Applications Deadline: November 13, 2020
  • Proposal Review and Scoring: December 2020 – March 2021
  • SCAG Regional Council Approval of the 2020 SCP – AT Application Rankings: May 6, 2021
  • California Transportation Commission approval of ATP projects: June 2021

Application Resources


For questions regarding the Sustainable Communities Program, please contact Hannah Brunelle at brunelle@scag.ca.gov