Connecting Communities

event theme

Transportation and housing are at a tipping point in Silicon Valley, and they’re connected to another hot issue: climate change. What can we do to solve all three problems simultaneously?

The Connecting Communities series is brought to you by TransForm and the Silicon Valley Climate Action Alliance, made possible with generous contributions from Mineta Transportation Institute, SamTrans, and Lyft. Other contributors include SAMCEDA, Palo Alto Forward, Menlo Spark, and Friends of Caltrain. See full list of event co-sponsors.

car-light housing modelCar-Light Housing: More affordability, less traffic

We need to address the housing affordability crisis, but we don’t want to make it harder to get around town or harm the climate. Join us for this discussion to:

  • Learn about the connections between housing affordability, traffic reduction, and climate change; 
  • Hear what neighboring communities are doing to reduce the need to drive; and 
  • See how you can help make your community more walkable, affordable, and transit-friendly.


  • Nina Rizzo manages GreenTRIP Certifications at TransForm. The GreenTRIP program supports multi-family residential developments that implement strategies to reduce traffic, parking and greenhouse gas emissions
  • Nevada Merriman of MidPen Housing is designing and developing affordable housing where residents can reduce their reliance on cars
  • Elaine Breeze of SummerHill Apartments works on “smart growth” multi-family rental housing and mixed use developments

Co-sponsors:TransForm, Housing Leadership Council, Home for All, OneSanMateo, San Mateo Cool Cities

Monday, March 26 from 6:30-8pm
San Mateo Downtown Library
55 W 3rd Ave. San Mateo

Hear the audio recording of this event:

Electric Caltrain is the futureBeyond Commuter Rail: International models of rail excellence

Alon Levy, writer and analyst about transit systems around the world, comes to the United States with international examples of effective rail and transit systems, and a critique of the practices that hold the U.S. back from excellent service.

As Caltrain prepares a business plan for the era of electric service, what can we learn about the transformation of commuter rail around the world? What can the Bay Area learn about pulling together seamlessly integrated transit systems in complex regions?

Co-sponsors: Menlo Spark, San Francisco Transit Riders, Seamless Bay Area, Silicon Valley Climate Action Alliance, TransForm

Monday, April 2, from 6:30-8:30pm
Adobe House
157 Moffett Blvd (next to Mountain View Transit Center)

Hear the audio recording of this event:


smart phone and roadThree Revolutions: Planning for an electric, autonomous, shared transportation future

Three revolutions will fundamentally change transportation. But whether these changes will be for better or worse for social equity, traffic congestion, pollution, and energy use, will depend on the policy choices we make now.


  • Dan Sperling, UC Davis: 3 Revolutions Future Mobility Program
  • Debs Schrimmer, Lyft: Technology / service provider perspective
  • Clarrissa Cabansagan, TransForm: Policy and Equity considerations
  • Moderator: Billy Riggs

Co-sponsors: SAMCEDA, Menlo Spark, TransForm, Friends of Caltrain

Thursday, April 19, 6:30-8pm
SamTrans Auditorium
1250 San Carlos Ave, San Carlos
Hear the audio recording of this event:


Bay Area highways Optimizing Our Highways: Moving more people with fewer cars

An express lane is now being considered on 101 from San Francisco to San Jose, but projections show that it alone will do little to solve our traffic woes. It is increasingly clear that the only way to get to the root of congestion — and to reduce climate emissions — is by catalyzing a dramatic shift from solo driving to carpools, shuttles, transit and incentivizing a shift to clean vehicles. Can we make Silicon Valley the place to break out with truly disruptive ideas that work?


  • Stuart Cohen and Chris Lepe, Executive Director and Senior Community Planner at TransForm, will outline how a 101 Mobility Action Plan (MAP) can achieve stronger equity and environmental outcomes while improving mobility.
  • Jeff Tumlin, Principal and Director of Strategy at Nelson\Nygaard, will discuss how to best implement managed/express lanes.
  • We'll also create ways for the audience to get your ideas into the mix.

Monday, April 30 from 7-8:30
Burlingame Public Library, Lane Room
480 Primrose Road, Burlingame

See a full video of the event on Facebook

Hear the audio recording of this event:

Puzzle pieces connectingSynchronizing Climate and Transportation Plans

Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the region and the state. What transportation strategies make it harder to reduce GHGs, and what can help? How can we make better decisions today that support a sustainable future?

  • Widening highways or converting existing lanes to express lanes
  • Building more parking garages, or less 
  • Building more homes near transit, jobs, and services
  • The transition to electric vehicles
  • Transportation as a service


  • Billy Riggs, University of San Francisco
  • Michael Boswell, California Polytechnic State University
  • Gil Friend, City of Palo Alto

Co-sponsors: Palo Alto Forward, Friends of Caltrain

Wednesday, May 16, 6-7:30pm
Palo Alto Morrison & Foerster (MOFO)
755 Page Mill Road, Palo Alto

Hear the audio recording of this event:


Electric Vehicles for EVeryone

How is California accelerating the transition from polluting, fossil fuel cars to electric vehicles? Come learn about charging stations and infrastructure, what cars and trucks are available, saving money by going electric, and how everyone can benefit from the growth of electric vehicles. Starting at 6 pm, there will be a variety of electric vehicles on display at the event venue. The electric vehicle owners will be available to answer your questions. Speakers will begin their presentations at 6:30 pm.


  • Opening comments, Assemblymember Marc Berman (invited)
  • John Supp from Silicon Valley Clean Energy will discuss how community choice energy providers are helping with EV chargers
  • Mark Tang from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District will explain the BAAQMD rebate program for low-income EV purchaser
  • Janelle London of  Colutura will share creative strategies using policy and culture to shift us away from gasoline engines
  • Shyam Nagrani of MotivPower will discuss EVs for the medium-duty transportation sector
  • Moderator: Diane Bailey, Menlo Spark

Cosponsors: Acterra, Menlo Spark, Peninsula Interfaith Climate Action

Thursday, May 17th, 6:30-8pm
Redwood City Library
1044 Middlefield Road, Redwood City

Hear the audio recording of this event:


Download a flyer for the April and May events

Thanks to our generous financial sponsors:

Sponsor logos

Thanks to these organizational co-sponsors:

  • 350 Bay Area - Transportation Campaign
  • Acterra
  • California Walks
  • Home for All
  • Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo
  • Livable Sunnyvale
  • Mountain View Coalition for Sustainable Planning
  • Peninsula Interfaith Climate Action
  • OneSanMateo
  • San Francisco Transit Riders
  • San Mateo Cool Cities
  • Seamless Bay Area