Clean & Efficient Transportation

The Clean and Efficient Transportation strategy of the Climate Action Plan (CAP) leverages smart land use planning and other initiatives to encourage people to take transit, carpool, walk, or bike rather than drive alone. 

This strategy also includes initiatives meant to boost the use of electric and alternative fueled vehicles when driving is necessary. Achieving greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions from this strategy involves coordination with local and regional transportation and planning agencies, as well as residents and businesses. Implementation of the Clean and Efficient Transportation strategy is estimated to reduce the City’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 4,481 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) by 2020 and 5,900 MTCO2e by 2030.

Explore the sections below to learn about the City’s planned and ongoing actions to achieve these reductions. 

Reduce VMT

Reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled

Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) data shows how much people are driving in a given timeframe. We can reduce our community’s VMT by choosing transportation options like walking, biking, taking public transit, and carpooling to reduce the number of miles we drive alone. In 2012, the total VMT in Encinitas was approximately 1.4 million miles per day, which equates to 538 million miles traveled in that year. The City’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) identified two actions to reduce VMT: 

  1. Complete and implement a citywide Active Transportation Plan (ATP). 
  2. Organize a local shuttle system.


Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) is a measurement that estimates the total amount of miles vehicles travel within a certain area and in a given timeframe. The City measures VMT for Encinitas annually.

VMTVehicle Miles Traveled

Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) is a measurement that estimates the total amount of miles vehicles travel within a certain area and in a given timeframe. The City measures VMT for Encinitas annually.

VMTVehicle Miles Traveled

Last updated May 5, 2023

CET-1: Complete and Implement the Citywide Active Transportation Plan

Citywide Active Transportation Plan

The City's Climate Action Plan (CAP) established a goal of completing and implementing a citywide Active Transportation Plan (ATP). An ATP addresses local and regional bike and pedestrian travel by establishing proposed biking and walking facilities and improvements to multimodal connections to public transit. The City completed and adopted its ATP on August 22, 2018, meeting the 2020 goal. Implementation of cost-effective projects has and will continue to be initiated and major projects will be incorporated into the City’s Capital Improvement Plan based on project priority and availability of funding. 

After the ATP was completed, the CAP was updated in 2020 to include targets to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT), encourage mode shift, and cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Completion of the proposed bicycle and pedestrian projects established in the ATP would reduce emissions by an estimated 254 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e)

In 2020, the City received funding through the Caltrans Sustainable Communities Grant to begin work on the development of the Modal Alternatives Plan (MAP), which directly implements the ATP. The ATP identified needed routes, gap closures, safety considerations, and facility options. An implementation plan, which involves prioritizing the projects and identifying funding opportunities, was not part of the original ATP due to funding limitations. In 2021 and early 2022, the City hosted two public workshops and coordinated a community survey to gain constituent feedback. The purpose of the MAP is to provide City staff with a comprehensive list of prioritized ATP bike and pedestrian projects that community members wish to see built, so that the City is well-positioned to apply for grant funding. Staff presented the implementation plan to the Mobility and Traffic Safety Commission on November 14, 2022, and the Commission was supportive with minor comments. The MAP was approved by City Council February 8, 2023 under Resolution No. 2023-04 which identified the top 35 bicycle and pedestrian projects. Citywide projects reflect the top 10 prioritized projects while the remaining 25 represent the top 5 bicycle or pedestrian projects for Encinitas' five communities. City staff are continuing to make on progress on progress on MAP priority projects. 

In Spring 2021, the City began a project to update its Mobility Element and create a framework to implement SB 743, a new state law updating evaluation of transportation impacts for CEQA analysis from LOS to VMT . The Mobility Element will consist of goals and policies, street typologies, a street classification map, and other high-level planning. The City is looking to consolidate policies from various plans such as the Climate Action Plan, Active Transportation Plan, Rail Corridor Vision Study, and others into one cohesive, Citywide framework. The last Mobility element update occurred in 1989 and the City must continue to expand transportation options to meet population growth while mitigating climate impacts. After two workshops and a draft environmental impact report public scoping meeting, City staff continued work on a draft Mobility Element update in 2023. City Council approval of the final Mobility Element is expected in 2024.

Last updated March 5, 2024

CET-2: Implement a Local Shuttle System 

Local Shuttle System

The City’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) estimated that adding new local transit options could save 365,000 vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 2020 and 875,000 VMT in 2030. This would result in an estimated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction of approximately 130 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) and 178 MTCO2e, respectively. In 2014, the City completed a Transit Feasibility Study that recommended implementing new local transit routes to serve the Highway 101 corridor, education facilities in the city, and the Encinitas COASTER station. Since the adoption of the CAP, the City has been exploring potentially viable public transit options, including rideshare programs that may be served by microtransit electric vehicles. Microtransit is an on-demand transportation system that provides an alternative to traditional route-based transit like buses and trains. Microtransit includes more flexible transportation modes like mini-shuttles, neighborhood electric vehicles, and shared ride hailing technology like Uber and Lyft. 

In 2020, the City actively collaborated with regional partners such as the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), the North County Transit District (NCTD), and neighboring jurisdictions—including the cities of Solana Beach, Carlsbad, Del Mar, and Oceanside—to develop a sub-regional or local public transportation system related to this CAP measure. The partners assessed options including shared neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV) rideshare programs, such as the City of San Diego’s Free Ride Everywhere Downtown program, and more traditional programs such as shuttle buses providing service to and from transit centers to employment centers. Since CAP adoption, the City has actively searched for grants and other outside funding to support this measures. The City will continue these collaboration and investigative efforts as CAP implementation continues.

Last updated May 5, 2023

Supporting Measure: Implement Bikeshare Program

BCycle Bikeshare

Between 2018 and 2022, the City worked to launch a local bikeshare program. In 2018, the City entered a Memorandum of Understanding with several North County coastal cities to develop a bikeshare program. In 2019, the City adopted Ordinance 2019-02, which allowed for the formation and operation of a pilot bikeshare program by a City-selected vendor. In 2021, the City entered into a license agreement with BCycle, one of the largest and longest standing bike share companies in the United States, to operate a pilot bikeshare program.

In coordination with the City, BCycle launched their pilot bikeshare program in early 2022. BCycle installed 131 docking stations for 67 electric bikes (e-bikes) throughout the City. The pilot bikeshare program has been extended for one more year, through January 2023, to further expand available docking stations and e-bikes, as well as increase community outreach. Since the onset of the program, as many as 40 MTCO2e have been avoided as a result of BCycle users riding nearly 100,000 miles. On December 13, 2023, City Council voted to renew the agreement through 2026.

Access to an affordable and clean transportation alternative, such as BCycle’s e-bikes, encourages residents and tourists alike to avoid driving vehicles and opt for zero emission shared bicycle transportation instead. BCycle’s bikeshare program aids the City in achieving its GHG reduction goals outlined in the CAP.

Last updated March 5, 2024

CET-3: Improve Traffic Flow

Reduce On-Road Fuel Use

Vehicle fuel usage is another way to measure how transportation impacts the climate. Reducing road congestion and improving traffic flow can lead to reductions in vehicle fuel use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The City’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) identified two ways to reduce fuel use:  

  • Retiming traffic signals 
  • Installing roundabouts

Efficient signal timing and roundabouts reduce vehicle stops and starts, improve vehicle stacking time, and reduce idle time, which collectively contributes to reduced fuel use and reduced GHG emissions. 

By 2020, the CAP aimed to retime 60 traffic signals and install three roundabouts. By 2030, the CAP proposes the installation of an additional four roundabouts to improve traffic flow. These actions would reduce GHG emissions by approximately 3,671 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) in 2020 and 1,241 MTCO2e in 2030.

In 2022, the construction of a roundabout on North Coast Highway 101 and El Portal Street was completed as part of the first phase of the Leucadia Streetscape project. Three other proposed roundabouts have completed the design phase. Two of these are set to begin construction in Fall 2023—located along North Coast Highway 101 at Jupiter Street and Grandview intersections. An additional roundabout will be construcuted on North Coast Highway 101 at Moorgate Road with private funding. Another private funded roundabout will be constructed at Quail Gardens Drive and Kirsten Court. The third roundabout will be constructed on Leucadia Boulevard and Hygeia Avenue once grant funding is obtained. 

The City broke ground on the Leucadia Streetscape Project—a multi-year and multi-stage project aimed to preserve and enhance the North Coast Highway 101 corridor in Leucadia—in early 2021. Construction for Segment ‘A’ North of Leucadia Streetscape, which occurred from Marcheta Steet to Basil Street, was completed in August 2022. Segment ‘B’ and ‘C’ safety and mobility enhancements along Basil Street to La Costa Avenue were completed in December 2022. Design for Segment ‘C’ West, spanning Jupiter Street to La Costa Avenue, has been allocated funds and awaits construction. The completed improvements include the El Portal roundabout, new sidewalks, new crosswalks, pedestrian trails, and green bike lanes down to Encinitas Boulevard. This projected supports CAP measure CET-3 and measure CET-1. 

Since the goals for on-road fuel use were established in the CAP in 2018, the City has shifted its focus to installing mobility infrastructure to promote the use of active transportation and reduce on-road fuel use, rather than adjusting traffic signal timing. That said, the City’s Traffic Division is continually monitoring all of the City’s traffic signals and regularly makes small adjustments to improve traffic flow and pedestrian crossing, as warranted.  Although the 2020 goals for traffic signal retiming have not been met and installation of roundabouts are still in process, the continued effort and commitment to these areas represents the City’s interest in prioritizing mobility improvements throughout the City to reduce GHG emissions.

Last updated March 5, 2024


Increase Use of Alternative Fuels

Drive Electric Vehicles

Vehicles that run on electricity produce fewer emissions than vehicles that run on gasoline or diesel. By supporting a network of electric vehicle charging stations (EVCS), the City can help facilitate the switch to vehicles that run on electricity. As our electricity supply becomes cleaner, so will electric vehicles. The City’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) identified two actions to promote the adoption of electric vehicles: 

  1. Require new single-family homes to be “EV Ready” and new multi-family developments to include EV charging stations.
  2. Require new and remodeled commercial developments to install EV charging stations.

  Last updated May 5, 2023

CET-5: Require Commercial Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Stations

Commercial EV Charging Stations

To increase electric vehicle (EV) adoption by residents, the City’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) proposed enacting local building codes requiring the installation of EV charging stations at 8% of the total number of parking spaces at commercial developments. This new requirement would apply to all new commercial developments (including the commercial portion of mixed-use projects) and commercial building modifications, alterations, and additions that are 10,000 square feet or greater. In November 2019, City Council adopted an ordinance enacting this new regulation, effective January 1, 2020. This requirement was readopted concurrent with the incorporation of the state’s triannual code amendment updates, effective January 1, 2023. As a result of this code, the CAP estimated that 150 electric vehicle charging stations (EVCS) will be installed by 2020 and 490 EVCS will be installed by 2030 at new commercial developments. Meeting these goals will decrease greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by approximately 440 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) by 2020 and 3,582 MTCO2e by 2030

In 2022, two commercial buildings that triggered the new local EVCS code requirements were issued permits, according to the City’s building permit data. As of the end of 2022, both these projects were still under construction and had not yet completed installation of the associated EV charging stations.  Permit processing and issuance will continue to be tracked to ensure EV charging regulations are enforced.

As of May 2023, the total number of publicly available charging stations in Encinitas was 28. This number was determined based on information available from Plugshare, ChargeHub, the US Department of Energy, and City permit data, in addition to local knowledge of City staff. It is important to note that not all commercial charging stations may be available 24/7 and that some require users to be customers for that particular charging network or for the vehicle being charged to have the appropriate charging plug. For example, the EV chargers located at BMW Encinitas may only be used by BMW vehicle owners. Drivers can visit PlugShare to see a station location map and to get more information about each publicly available charging station located in Encinitas. 

While the ordinance is in place and being enforced, it is evident that this new requirement may not result in the number of EVCS anticipated by the CAP. To supplement this ordinance, the City is in the process of developing an Electric Vehicle Charging Station Master Plan that will identify ideal locations for charging stations and outline additional measures the City can do to implement to promote EVCS installation at commercial locations. The EV Charging Station Master Plan is expected to be complete in 2023. The City is also seeking grants, funding, and other opportunities to support EVCS installation. For example, the City coordinated the installation of six public DC Fast charging stations in the lower lot of the City Hall at Vulcan Avenue and E Street. This project was formerly managed by a private entity but was taken over by the City in 2021 in order to complete the project. These charging stations were installed and became available for public use in the spring of 2022.

Last updated May 5, 2023

MCET-2: Adopt a Municipal Employee Telecommute Policy

Municipal Telecommute Policy

When the City’s CAP was updated in 2020, measure MCET-2 was added, making it the CAP's 20th measure. This measure involves developing and implementing a telecommuting policy for City employees.  It assists in decreasing the City's overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by reducing the number of vehicle miles traveled by City employees. The City’s CAP estimated that this measure would avoid 170,000 miles of commuting to and from municipal facilities and reduce GHG emissions by 50 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) in 2030.

The initial phase of the policy launched in the summer of 2022. City employees now have the choice to telecommute one day per week, contingent on their job function and management approval. For example, Public Works crews must be onsite to conduct maintenance in the field and are not able to telecommute. In future years, the City will consider expanding the program to allow an additional number of days that employees can commute. Program expansion will be dependent on the success of the initial phase.

Last updated May 5, 2023

Vehicle Miles Traveled

How You Can Help

Choose an Alternative to Driving Alone - Take Transit, Carpool, or Bike
Ask a Friend or Co-Worker to Meet at a Local Park & Ride to Commute Together
Commit to Biking to Work by Using the San Diego Regional Bike Map

Last updated September 28, 2022

Status of CAP Implementation