Level of Service (LOS)

Chicago Commute

Planning for Congestion Relief

The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.

May 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

The San Diego Convention Center is illuminated at night with the backdrop of public transit lines and high-rise buildings.

Day One of the National Planning Conference—Reunions, Pandemic Planning, Equity, and VMT

The American Planning Association gathers for its first in-person National Planning Conference since 2019. Planetizen is in attendance, and here is some of what we saw on the first day of the conference.

May 1, 2022 - James Brasuell

Congestion

What Is LOS?

Level of Service (LOS) defines how well vehicle traffic flows along a street or road. LOS is one of the most influential metrics in planning, with critical relevance for both land use and transportation planning.

April 27, 2022 - James Brasuell

Congestion versus mobility

How Planning Fails to Solve Congestion

Solutions for congestion are never as simple and easy as armchair planners and engineers would like you to believe—especially those who suggest that congestion can be solved by forever building more roadway capacity.

April 20, 2022 - James Brasuell

Congestion

Planning and the Complicated Causes and Effects of Congestion

What do planners know about congestion, and what can they do about it? Explanations and solutions are less obvious than they seem (part one of a three-part series).

April 13, 2022 - James Brasuell

I-84 to I-5 Interstate Freeway in Portland Oregon with Long Exposure Vehicle Traffic Motion

What Is VMT?

A measure of the demand for vehicle travel on public roadways, VMT provides a metric for evaluating the potential impact of road projects and developments and could become an increasingly useful tool for assessing road usage taxes.

March 2, 2022 - Diana Ionescu

New Orleans Freeway

Outdated State and Federal Road Design Rules Hinder Freeway Removal

Although some cities are in favor of removing or reducing urban freeways in favor of more walkable spaces, guidelines like the 11-year-old MUTCD still encourage a 'throughput at all costs' mentality.

October 1, 2021 - Governing

San Francisco Traffic

A Critical Evaluation of the Urban Mobility Report

The Urban Mobility Report (UMR) evaluates traffic congestion problems and recommends congestion reduction solutions. How well does it reflect travelers' priorities?

July 13, 2021 - Todd Litman

Los Angeles STreet

Level of Service Canceled in Los Angeles

The Los Angeles City Council voted to officially end the use of Level of Service in measuring environmental impact in favor of a more people-friendly measure: vehicle miles traveled.

August 12, 2019 - Streetsblog Los Angeles

Lombard Street San Francisco

*Video: Explaining Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT)

Conventional planning evaluates transport system performance car-centric indicators such as roadway Level-of-Service (LOS). Many jurisdictions are shifting to Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT), which supports multimodal planning and Smart Growth policies.

January 31, 2019 - Fehr and Peers via YouTube

South Lake Union

Level of Service Reform Bill Approved by Seattle City Council

A major change to planning paradigms in the city of Seattle.

January 16, 2019 - The Urbanist

Bell Street Seattle

Level of Service Reform Takes Step Forward in Seattle

The city of Seattle is making more room for alternative transportation modes in its level of service calculations.

January 2, 2019 - The Urbanist

Little Tokyo

The Final Days of 'Level of Service' in California's Environmental Review Process

A long-awaited draft update of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) has finally been released, and Level of Service will finally be a thing of the past in the next two to four years.

December 7, 2017 - Streetsblog California

California Environmental Law Continues to Frustrate Bike Planning (for Now)

Help is on the way. The law that requires the governor's planning office to devise an alternative method for measuring vehicle traffic for environmental compliance will also take up where an earlier law that exempted bike lanes from CEQA left off.

April 16, 2016 - Los Angeles Times

San Francisco Leading CEQA Reform Process—Scraps Level of Service

The San Francisco Planning Commission took historic action earlier this month, voting to end the use of Level of Service in environmental review.

March 11, 2016 - San Francisco Planning Department

Pasadena Ditches 'Level of Service' Review for Multi-Modal Measurements

Pasadena got out in front of the state of California this week by replacing "level of service" with a more holistic, less car-centric, set of standards for review under the California Environmental Quality Act.

November 6, 2014 - Boyonabike!

Four-Lane Freeway

Reform Transport Engineering: Expand Beyond Just Roadway Level of Service (LOS) Ratings

Transportation engineers currently evaluate urban transport system performance using roadway level of service (LOS) ratings. Here are six good reasons to change.

September 29, 2014 - Todd Litman

Top Books

An annual review of books related to planning.

Top Websites

The best of the Internet—since 2002.

Top Apps

Planning apps for a brave new world.

Top Schools

The definitive ranking of graduate planning programs.

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.