An evaluation by researchers from UCLA’s Luskin Center for Innovation shows that a smog test and vehicle repair program in the San Joaquin Valley has proven beneficial to more than 40,000 people in that part of Central California.

The Tune In & Tune Up program provides residents with free smog checks, and owners of vehicles that do not pass emission tests receive vouchers for up to $850 to bring their cars and trucks into compliance. The study found that Tune In & Tune Up is one of the first transportation programs to achieve efficiency, equity and environmental objectives. The program successfully targeted communities with lower incomes, higher minority households and pollution threats while also reaching vehicles that are most likely to be high emitters.

With disproportionately high levels of pollution and poverty compared to the rest of the state, the program’s service to the San Joaquin Valley is critical.

“This is important because older vehicles emit a disproportionate amount of smog-forming pollution linked to asthma and other respiratory diseases. Yet many low-income residents of the valley have no choice but to drive old vehicles because they live in rural areas with limited or no access to public transit,” said Gregory Pierce, co-author of the study and associate director of research at the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation, which is housed in the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs.

Researchers said that Tune In & Tune Up can serve as a model for future transportation programs to reach social and environmental objectives of California.

Read the full story on the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs website.