Plans, Policies & Studies

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The City of Carlsbad's approach to managing travel around and through the city is based on policies, plans and strategies approved by the City Council.

General Plan Mobility Element

Approved by the City Council in 2015, the General Plan Mobility Element is a collection of policies and guidelines used by staff to design new roads and redesign existing roads. It incorporates a “complete streets” approach to designing city streets that balances the needs of all users on the street including motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, children, persons with disabilities, seniors, movers of commercial goods and users of public transportation. It is based on one the core values of Carlsbad’s Community Vision, which calls for the city to “Increase travel options through enhanced walking, bicycling and public transportation systems."

Sustainable Mobility Plan

The Sustainable Mobility Plan was approved by the City Council in 2021 and is the main plan that guides implementation of the General Plan Mobility Element, with the goal of improving traffic safety, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing travel choices. The plan focuses on prioritizing transportation options that also are good for the environment:

  • Improvements for bicyclists, pedestrians and people with disabilities
  • Connected walking, cycling, transit stops and trail networks
  • Programs like Safe Routes to Schools and cycling education to encourage active transportation
  • Access to public transit
  • Infrastructure improvements to enhance safety and connectivity 
  • Mobility hubs featuring car-share and bike-share services
  • Ways to get people to drive alone less, and instead walk, bike, ride transit or carpool more

Growth Management Program

Traffic data is an important tool in evaluating the performance of the city's street network. Transportation division staff collects vehicle volume data on a regular basis and is used, in conjunction with the Growth Management Plan's Annual Traffic Monitoring Program (Appendix AAppendix BAppendix C), to provide vital information residents, business owners, developers, engineers and planners.

Transportation Demand Management Plan

This Transportation Demand Management Plan is included in the Sustainable Mobility Plan and focuses on helping people find ways to get around other than driving alone. 

Reducing the number of trips people make alone in their cars cuts down on energy use and air pollution. The city works with the Carlsbad’s large employers to develop programs like carpooling and to provide workers with basic services on the worksite so they don’t have to drive around doing errands. The program also encourages alternative work schedules to cut down on traffic at the peak commute times. The city is doing the same for our own organization. This handbook describes the program and has more resources.

Trails Master Plan

The Trails Master Plan outlines strategies to make it safer, more convenient, and more enjoyable for people to walk, hike and bike in Carlsbad, whether for recreation or transportation, using the city’s trail system. The Trails Master Plan also includes design guidelines and projects.

Residential Traffic Management Program

This program provides a way for city staff to work directly with neighborhoods that have concerns about traffic safety. Based on an initial assessment, staff can utilize one or more approaches to slow down speeds, discourage cut-through traffic, enhance pedestrian and bike safety, and make other changes. Solutions include speed cushions, extending curbs and other measures.

Active transportation programs and guidelines 

Pedestrian Master Plan

Bike Master Plan